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Zika virus's spread pushes testing labs to expand capacity

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A survey of state and local laboratories in April found enough capacity to perform 3,500 to 5,000 tests a week for the Zika virus. But that would not be enough to meet demand under CDC's worst-case scenario for a domestic Zika outbreak.

A survey of state and local laboratories in April found enough capacity to perform 3,500 to 5,000 tests a week for the Zika virus. But that would not be enough to meet demand under CDC's worst-case scenario for a domestic Zika outbreak. The gap was "considerable," said Kelly Wroblewski, director of infectious diseases for the Association of Public Health Laboratories, which conducted the survey. The finding set off an expedited effort to expand lab capacity that continues as Zika’s foothold in the United States expands. In recent months, dozens of public health laboratories bought equipment, stockpiled supplies, and trained employees needed to start Zika testing, according to state and local health officials. The push has lowered some wait times for results to between 1 and 4 weeks and the CDC estimates the nation’s network of public health labs now has "sufficient capacity" to screen pregnant women in multiple areas at high risk for Zika transmission. However, CDC guidelines say tests should also be available to anyone with symptoms and possible exposure. If "many" people with Zika exposure and symptoms who are not pregnant seek tests, demand could exceed capacity, according to CDC's July estimate.

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http://www.wsj.com/articles/zika-viruss-spread-pushes-testing-labs-to-expand-capacity-1472151519

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