About Zika Virus Testing

If you are a patient who has traveled to an active Zika, see your doctor or other health care provider for testing information. This is especially important if you are pregnant. To learn more about Zika or about traveling to areas where Zika is present, visit the pages on the sidebar.

Scientist vertical orientation

For patients who meet certain criteria, fee-exempt laboratory testing is currently performed by the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene (WSLH) for Zika virus, with confirmatory testing performed by CDC.

All requests for Zika virus testing must be approved by a Wisconsin DPH communicable diseases epidemiologist.

For more information on Zika testing, contact:

  • Bureau of Communicable Diseases
    phone 608-267-9003
    fax 608-267-4976

or email DHSDPHBCD@wi.gov.


Who will be approved for fee-exempt testing in Wisconsin?

DHS has recently updated the criteria for fee-exempt testing based on CDC recommendations. Please see the August 8, 2017 memo for more information. For additional details on current CDC Zika virus testing recommendations, please see the MMWR published on July 24th, 2017 and visit the CDC website.

Symptomatic Patients:

(at least one of the following signs and symptoms - arthralgia, conjunctivitis, rash or fever)

  • History of travel to Zika-affected area(s) within two weeks of illness onset
  • Unprotected sexual contact within two weeks of illness onset with a partner who traveled to a Zika affected area(s).
Asymptomatic Pregnant Patients with Ongoing Exposure:

(Ongoing exposure is defined as unavoidable travel to a Zika-affected area daily, weekly, or monthly).

*Asymptomatic pregnant women without ongoing exposure DO NOT meet criteria for fee-exempt testing. If Zika virus testing is desired for these patients, please consult your laboratory manager to pursue testing through a private lab.

At this time, Wisconsin DPH is not performing Zika testing on asymptomatic patients for the purposes of preconception screening. For additional information, see the CDC guidance “Women and Men with Possible Zika Virus Exposure Who Desire Pregnancy.”

All requests for Zika virus testing must be approved by a Wisconsin DPH communicable diseases epidemiologist.

For more information on Zika testing, contact:

  • Bureau of Communicable Diseases phone 608-267-9003, (fax 608-267-4976)

or email DHSDPHBCD@wi.gov.

What are the Criteria for Fee-exempt Zika Virus Testing?

Information required for approval of fee-exempt Zika virus testing:
  • History of vaccinations for Yellow fever or Japanese encephalitis
  • History of diagnosis of Dengue illness
  • Any recent hospitalization
  • Dates of symptom onset and specimen collection
  • Travel destinations to Zika-affected area(s), including dates of travel
  • Recollection of insect bites during travel
  • Date of first and last unprotected sexual encounter with a traveler to Zika-affected area(s), including travel destination and dates of travel
  • Patient demographics
  • Health care provider contact information

If testing is approved, a DPH epidemiologist will fax you a copy of the completed fee-exempt submission form. This completed form should accompany the specimen being sent to the WSLH. Note that the approved submission forms are only faxed to providers during regular business hours (Monday through Friday from 7:45 am until 4:30 pm).

If a patient is seen during non-business hours, specimens can be collected and held refrigerated until the next business day when a DPH epidemiologist is available.

Information Required for Approval of Fee-Exempt Zika Virus Testing, P-01804 (PDF)

How should Specimens be Collected and Submitted?

Detailed instructions for laboratories, P-01599 (PDF)

Types of specimens that are currently acceptable for Zika virus diagnostic testing include:

  • Serum
  • Urine
  • CSF
  • Amniotic fluid - collected after 15 weeks of gestation

CDC is evaluating other specimens, such as semen and saliva, for potential diagnostic use, but current diagnostic tests aren't validated for their use.

Note: CDC recommends that symptomatic patients be tested for dengue and chikungunya viruses at the same time they are tested for Zika virus. DPH approval for Zika virus testing will also encompass approval for testing for those viruses. CDC memo on testing for these viruses (PDF)

Additional testing information - WSLH

Interactive Algorithm Tool for Pregnancy and Zika Testing - CDC

How should Zika virus be Reported?

This is a Wisconsin disease surveillance category II disease: 

Report to the patient's local public health department electronically, through the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS), by mail or fax using an Acute and Communicable Disease case report F-44151 (Word) or by other means within 72 hours upon recognition of a case.

Information on communicable disease reporting

Last Revised: August 10, 2017