The Brazilian Ministry of Health announced today they have trained 11 public laboratories to perform the testing for the diagnosis of Zika virus.

Public domain image/Deyvid Aleksandr Raffo Setti
Public domain image/Deyvid Aleksandr Raffo Setti

These labs , in addition to the five sentinel laboratories (Fiocruz reference, located in Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, Pernambuco, São Paulo (Adolfo Lutz Institute) and Pará (Evandro Chagas Institute), already testing for Zika, bring the total to 16.

The eleven state labs include  Bahia, Amazonas, Alagoas, Goiás, Pará, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Sergipe, Rio Grande do Norte and the Federal District.

In the next two months, the technology will be transferred to 11 more laboratories, totaling 27 units prepared to analyze 400 samples a month from suspected cases of Zika across the country.

Currently, the diagnostic technique used by the Ministry of Health is the Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR.

On average, it takes 0-15 days to collect, sent to the reference laboratory, processing, analysis and results of samples.

The test should be done preferably in the first five days of onset of symptoms. From the confirmation and characterized the presence of the virus in the region, other diagnoses are made clinically, for medical assessment of symptoms.

It is noteworthy that the Zika virus is difficult to detect since about 80% of infected cases do not show signs or symptoms.