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Zika virus infection in Norway - test result updates

To date, 30 countries have ongoing outbreaks or an increasing incidence of Zika virus infection. Blood samples from 222 individuals have been tested at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Two of these show an active infection, and about 10 individuals have recovered from an earlier Zika virus infection.

zika aedis aegypti
Foto: CDC/James Gathany

Situation in Norway

Between February 25th and April 11th 2016, 222 individuals were tested for Zika virus infection at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), 142 women and 80 men. Most of the women were pregnant, and most of the men were partners of pregnant women who could have infected their partner following travel to endemic areas.

The NIPH uses several kinds of tests which fall into two main categories: 

  • Tests that detect the virus directly in blood during acute illness. These tests are called PCR-tests. 
  • Tests that detect antibodies against Zika virus in blood. These show whether or not the person has previously been infected with the Zika virus. The tests cannot establish when the infection occurred, in particular where no symptoms of infection were present.

The test results show that:

  • Two of the 222 tested individuals had results that indicated an acute Zika virus infection. They had symptoms of a mild illness and the virus was detected in their blood during the acute phase. 
  • Approximately 10 of the 222 tested individuals had positive antibody tests, which indicated that they had recovered from an earlier a Zika virus infection, either recently or a long time ago. 
  • The pregnant women with positive test results are being monitored to establish if they were infected during their current pregnancy, and they are being followed up at a regional centre for foetal diagnostics.

All individuals with positive test results for Zika virus have visited infected areas.

Advice

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is advising pregnant women not to travel to areas with ongoing outbreaks or with increasing incidence of Zika fever. Individuals who have visited the affected areas should take precautions to avoid pregnancy upon returning home. The NIPH’s advice to travellers, as well as an overview of affected countries is being kept updated.