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Zika is a viral infection transmitted by a mosquito (Aedes aegypti) found in some countries with tropical climates and, more rarely, through sexual transmission. About 80% of infected individuals have few or no symptoms. The others will have a fever, skin rashes, joint pain andor conjunctivitis, which usually disappear within a few days. These symptoms are similar to those for dengue fever and chikungunya spread by other mosquitos. Based on the clinical information (country visited, date of travel, onset and type of symptoms, number of weeks pregnant, baby with microcephaly, etc.), the test screens the blood (or other fluids) for a nucleic acid (RNA) specific of the three suspect viruses or only for the presence of IgM or IgG antibodies that the body produces when infected with the Zika virus (EIA immunoassay). The test is not relevant for asymptomatic men and non-pregnant women, individuals who have not travelled to an endemic region and asymptomatic pregnant women whose time between conception and their return from travel exceeds six (6) months. In certain situations (serum collected from a symptomatic person in the acute phase or from an asymptomatic pregnant woman less than four (4) weeks after returning from travel), the test should be repeated a few days or weeks later on a new sample.

Term of the Week

Predictive medicine

Medicine that links medical knowledge with data to predict a patient’s potential health problems. Examples include artificial intelligence and genetics.