CDC Updates Zika Guidelines To Include This Disgusting New Finding

Photographed by Tayler Smith.
Thinking about a mosquito-borne illness for months now is already testing our threshold for disgust — and worry. But today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidelines for Zika testing based on a newly discovered fun finding: The virus lasts longer in your urine than your blood.

Recent research found that, in a test of 66 patients in Florida, a urine test correctly detected twice as many positive cases as the blood test. And the urine tests were able to pick up new cases later in the game. While the blood tests can only pick the virus up for about a week after symptoms first appear, the urine test can detect it up to two weeks after.

Now, the CDC recommends that doctors use a urine test in addition to the commonly used blood test. This is important because having another tool in our arsenal will hopefully make diagnosis seamless once Zika inevitably finds its way into North America.

For most people, Zika is a mild illness that only causes symptoms, like rashes and fever, in a fraction of the people infected. However, it can cause the birth defect microcephaly in babies born to women who catch the virus while pregnant. It has also been linked to Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare but potentially serious neurological problem that can cause paralysis. So far, there have been 472 confirmed cases of Zika among Americans, including 44 pregnant women, all of whom caught the virus while traveling, according to the latest count from the CDC. One of these people developed Guillain-Barré.

If you want to learn more about the virus and what you need to do about it, we've got you covered here. But, sorry conspiracy theorists, a giant multinational bioterrorism plot is not involved.
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