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Accurate Zika virus reporting using LOINC

  • Wednesday, 03 August 2016 14:57
  • Written by 

The current Zika virus outbreak requires new entries to be created in laboratory information systems for the associated testing. Positive Zika virus results need to be reported to local, state and federal public health departments, and there are multiple LOINC terms depending on the details of the assay. Consider the following information as you set up your system or map to LOINC.

Zika virus RT PCR lab test

  1. A nonspecific entry such as ‘Zika Virus’ does not provide enough information to determine the correct LOINC term. Look at package inserts (if testing in house) or ask questions of the send-out lab to get as much detail as possible.
  2. First, determine if the analyte being tested is Zika virus RNA, Envelope (E) gene, or antibody.
  3. As of now, there is only a single LOINC term for the Zika Virus RNA test, with a specimen of XXX. Therefore, regardless of the entry in the specimen field (serum, CSF, urine or amniotic fluid), currently the same LOINC is reported for a positive result. Because LOINC could provide a new, distinct term for each specimen in future releases, you should still capture the specific specimen information in your system.
  4. The Zika virus Envelope (E) gene test has multiple LOINC terms, each specific to a specimen; so a different LOINC would be reported according to the specimen tested.
  5. Both Zika virus RNA and Zika virus Envelope (E) gene assays use PCR – in LOINC that translates to the method of Probe.Amp.Tar (in other words, you do not need to search for LOINC terms with other method names).
  6. If the analyte tested is Zika virus antibody, there are multiple LOINC terms depending on what is in the analyte, property, specimen and method axes:
    1. Analyte: ‘Zika virus Ab’ or the more specific ‘Zika virus Ab IgM’.
    2. Property: For titer, there are acute (‘1st specimen’) and convalescent (‘2nd specimen’) terms.
    3. Specimen: CSF or serum.
    4. Method: neutralization or immunoassay.

Having the appropriate information allows you to report the correct LOINC in support of public health surveillance for the Zika virus.

We do LOINC mapping – please contact us with additional questions and happy LOINC-ing!