HealthDay News — Prolonged detection of Zika virus RNA has been documented in 5 pregnant women, according to research published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Dana Meaney-Delman, MD, MPH, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues summarized the clinical and laboratory characteristics of pregnant women with prolonged detection of Zika virus RNA in serum. Data were obtained from the US Zika Pregnancy Registry. Prolonged detection was defined as Zika virus RNA detection in serum by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of 14 or more days after symptom onset, or 21 or more days after last possible exposure to Zika virus among asymptomatic women.

The researchers identified prolonged Zika virus RNA detection in serum up to 46 days after symptom onset in 4 symptomatic pregnant women, and at 53 days post-exposure in 1 asymptomatic pregnant woman. One of the 5 pregnancies had evidence of fetal Zika virus infection, which was confirmed by histopathologic examination of fetal tissue; 3 pregnancies resulted in live births with no reported abnormalities, and 1 pregnancy was ongoing.

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“Zika virus RNA was detected in the serum of 5 pregnant women beyond the previously estimated timeframe,” the authors write. “Additional real-time RT-PCR testing of pregnant women might provide more data about prolonged detection of Zika virus RNA and the possible diagnostic, epidemiologic, and clinical implications for pregnant women.”


Meaney-delman D, Oduyebo T, Polen KN, et al. Prolonged Detection of Zika Virus RNA in Pregnant Women. Obstet Gynecol. 2016; doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000001625.