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Pregnant Couple Has Zika Test Rejected By CDC Despite Possible Exposure

By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) - Researchers now say the Zika virus may spread farther in the U.S. than originally believed. The mosquito known to carry Zika is mostly found in the south, but the virus has been discovered in a second species that ranges as far north as Maine and Minnesota.

Though there have been no cases of mosquito-borne Zika in the U.S., a Colorado couple is worried about possible exposure and can't understand why the Center for Disease Control won't test for the virus.

The concern is for the couple's unborn child after the father spent weeks in one of the affected areas.

The CDC says women who are pregnant are considered higher risk for infection and the virus can cause severe birth defects.

The mother, who asked not to be identified, said weeks into her pregnancy she learned her husband would have to travel to Puerto Rico for work. The island is one of nearly 40 areas reporting active Zika virus.

"Our options were at the time, well go to work, do your job and when you come home we'll get the test," she said.

Just prior to her husband's return, she began reaching out to doctors.

"We went to the general practitioner doctor and she looked at the guidelines and she said you don't have at least two of the symptoms on this list, therefore you are asymptomatic and the CDC will reject your sample and we were turned away," said the mother.

It was a surprise to her because the CDC itself has reported that a majority of Zika cases show no symptoms.

She was then referred to a pregnancy specialist who, in addition to performing multiple full body ultrasounds, wanted her husband to be tested.

"The prenatal specialist said if this was my pregnancy I would want the test done, you want the peace of mind, you want to be able to go to bed at night and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy without that concern," said expecting mother.

The doctor sent a sample to the CDC, which was rejected a week later.

"I was  angry... I was angry."

The cost to test the sample falls on the couple and they paid to have it done.

Their money was returned and the recommendation from the CDC was that they abstain from sex for the remainder of her pregnancy.

CBS4 reached out to the CDC, asking why they wouldn't run the test, and was referred to their website.

Karen Morfitt Joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around metro Denver. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.


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