U.S. Doctors Urged to Test Some Babies for Zika Virus

WASHINGTON (McClatchy Washington Bureau/TNS) -

Federal health officials, scrambling to respond to the latest public health crisis, urged doctors Tuesday to test newborns who show signs of the Zika virus.

In new interim guidelines, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention told health care providers in the United States to work closely with mothers to track down babies possibly suffering from the rapidly spreading virus. The guidelines have special application in South Florida, where mosquitoes are a part of daily life.

Doctors and nurses are advised to test infants born to mothers with positive or inconclusive tests for the Zika virus as well as infants with microcephaly or who show signs of brain calcification caused by the tropical disease.

The warnings will hit home in Florida, which health officials see as vulnerable to the disease.

“Many experts, including the CDC, have warned those in the south, particularly Florida, that there is great risk for terrible consequences from Zika virus,” wrote Walter J. Tabachnick, former director of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, in an opinion piece published in the Miami Herald.