Pregnant Women Told They Didn't Have Zika Get Bad News

DC lab messed up test affecting hundreds, with 2 women now told they tested positive
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2017 1:40 PM CST
Pregnant Women Told They Didn't Have Zika Get Bad News
This 2006 file photo provided by the CDC shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito.   (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via AP, File)

Almost 300 DC-area women who were pregnant last year likely breathed a sigh of relief when their tests for the Zika virus came back clean. Those sighs turned to gasps on Thursday when city officials announced the district's health lab had botched hundreds of tests and that two local pregnant women who were told their test results were negative actually tested positive, the Washington Post reports. More than 400 samples gathered between July 14 and Dec. 14 that had been deemed negative, including those for 294 pregnant women, have been sent out for retesting, with pregnant women's samples going directly to the CDC and the rest going to labs approved by the CDC. Anthony Tran, hired in late 2016 to head the lab, was the one who came across the faulty math, suspecting the stats were too heavily slanted toward "negative" results. The CDC was notified in January.

Meanwhile, the two women whose samples turned out to be positive were informed of the major snafu Wednesday. NBC Washington reports those two women have already had their babies, though their condition isn’t known. The head of DC's Department of Forensic Sciences tells the Post she's not sure which of the other women in the sample group may have given birth as well. "I am terrified," one woman who was tested in August and is due in March says. Results could take up to a month. The head of Sibley Memorial Hospital's maternal-fetal medicine division laments the error, noting if any of the pregnant women were indeed infected, the late-discovered mistake "took away options" such as pregnancy termination. (More Zika virus stories.)

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