Another Pregnant Woman Positive for Zika After DC Botched Tests in 2016

What to Know

  • The D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences received results of 205 more retests following last year's botched testing.
  • 198 retested specimens were negative. One pregnant woman was confirmed having Zika. Six other others are possible Zika or Dengue fever.
  • The flawed testing was discovered in December by the audit ordered by the new Public Health Laboratory director.

Seven more pregnant women learned their Zika virus tests last year returned false negatives, the D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences confirmed.

One of the women is a confirmed case of Zika, while the other six could also be cases of Dengue fever, the Department of Forensic Sciences said.

Those results come from the latest batch of retested specimens. Results from 205 retests included 198 negatives.

Last week, the Department of Forensic Sciences received results for the first group of 62 retested specimens, which found two cases of pregnant women who tested positive.

D.C. is having all 409 specimens that tested negative between July and December retested by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labs, the Department of Forensic Sciences said.

Forensic Sciences hired Dr. Anthony Tran last year as director of its Public Health Laboratory, which handles all testing for the District. He had the laboratory's practices audited and learned of the flawed test, which was suspended Dec. 14. One of the problems was a mathematical error, he said.

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The laboratory is working with the CDC to correct the test and get it back in use.

Of the 409 specimens, 294 were from pregnant women and 115 were from women who weren't pregnant or men.

The majority of the specimens are being tested at a CDC lab in Fort Collins, Colorado. Smith anticipates more false negatives.

Zika is transmitted from infected mosquitoes to people and from pregnant mothers to babies. The virus usually causes a mild illness, but babies born to mothers with the virus can have microcephaly, a condition associated with small, undeveloped brains. 

While the virus is not spread by casual human contact, health officials say it could be sexually transmitted.

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