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Zika Virus Testing Guidelines for Healthcare Providers

Commercial lab testing

Zika virus testing is now available in commercial clinical laboratories. Providers are encouraged to route Zika testing through capable commercial laboratories. When determining whether to test for Zika virus and which tests to order, providers should refer to guidelines and testing algorithms from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Specimens that are positive for Zika IgM but PCR was either negative or not done should be forwarded to a public health lab for confirmation by Plaque Reduction Neutralization Testing (PRNT).

Reporting Zika virus infection

All positive, equivocal, and unspecified flavivirus results (including Zika virus) must be reported to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) (California Code of Regulations, Title 17, Section 2500). Please report any patient with laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection to SCCPHD using a Confidential Morbidity Report Form.

Testing at public health laboratories

SCCPHD and CDPH can perform several different tests for Zika for patients who meet certain criteria. The criteria for testing are based on guidelines from CDPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDPH guidelines were updated January 10, 2018. Please read the new criteria below before submitting a request for testing. The main change under the new guidelines is that testing is no longer routinely recommended for asymptomatic pregnant women with recent but not ongoing exposure to Zika virus.

More information on current testing guidelines:

CDPH Updated Guidance for Health Care Providers: Assessment and Testing for Zika Virus Infection in Pregnant Women and their Newborns (Jan. 10, 2018)

CDC Testing Guidance

Patient criteria for testing by the public health lab

In order to be tested by public health, the patient must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. All symptomatic individuals, including pregnant women, who had onset of symptoms* within the past 12 weeks, and with symptom onset occurring within two weeks of travel to an area with Zika virus transmission. See Zika Travel Information for the current list of areas with risk of Zika virus transmission.
  2. Infants born to mothers who have tested positive for Zika.
  3. Infants with clinical findings suggestive of congenital Zika syndrome and possible maternal Zika virus exposure during pregnancy, regardless of maternal testing results.

* Symptoms of Zika virus infection include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, and joint pain.


  1. If the patient meets the above criteria, complete one of the fillable forms below, print, and fax to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department at (408) 885-4249. Note that incomplete forms will result in a delay. The form serves as both an approval form and the lab submittal form.​
    Zika Approval/Laboratory Submittal Form (Updated December 9, 2016)
    Neonatal Zika Approval/Laboratory Submittal Form​ (Updated January 19, 2017)
  2. Once the forms are faxed, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department will call you within three business days if the patient is approved for testing. High risk individuals, such as symptomatic pregnant women, will be prioritized.  
  3. After obtaining approval, please submit the specimen to the Santa Clara County Public Health Laboratory at 2220 Moorpark Ave, 2nd Floor, San Jose, CA 95128, along with the completed Zika Approval Submittal Form. The lab’s contact phone number is (408) 885-4272.
  4. The specimen will then be tested for Zika virus at the Santa Clara County Public Health Lab or forwarded for testing at California Department of Public Health, with an ​expected turnaround time of several weeks (please let your patients know about this expected turnaround time). You (the ordering provider) will receive​ lab results by fax.
Zika virus resources for providers

CDC Testing for Zika Virus

CDPH Zika Information for Clinicians​

Last updated: 2/7/2018 8:18 AM