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There's Now a Rapid Zika Test in the U.S.

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Texas has released the country's first hospital-based rapid test for the Zika virus, according to two local medical institutions.

Experts at the Texas Children's Hospital and Houston Methodist Hospital developed a test for Zika that can identify the virus within hours. According to a statement, the tests can find the virus in blood, urine, spinal fluid and amniotic fluid.

Rapid diagnostics for Zika have been a major speed bump in the ongoing outbreak both in the United States and in harder-hit countries in the Americas. As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director recently told TIME, the agency is working "around the clock" to produce more tests for other states. As it stands, for most hospitals to confirm a Zika diagnosis, they have to send samples to the local health departments and the CDC, which can be time consuming.

Many existing diagnostics have difficulty distinguishing Zika from dengue, which is a similar virus in many ways. According to the Texas hospitals, their test—which was rapidly developed by p athologists and clinical laboratory scientists at the centers —can distinguish the virus from dengue, West Nile and chikungunya.

Isabel and Moises Albuquerque and their son son at the Associacao de Assistencia a Crianca Deficiente, a rehabilitation center for disabled children, in Recife, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016.
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Isabel and Moises Albuquerque and their son son at the Associacao de Assistencia a Crianca Deficiente, a rehabilitation center for disabled children, in Recife, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016.Sebastian Liste—NOOR for TIME
Isabel and Moises Albuquerque and their son son at the Associacao de Assistencia a Crianca Deficiente, a rehabilitation center for disabled children, in Recife, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016.
Dr. Vanessa Van Der Linden, a neurologist at the Associacao de Assistencia a Crianca Deficiente, measures the head of a baby with microcephaly in Recife, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016. This center has seen 69 children with microcephaly so far.
Adriana Cordeiro da Silva, 29, and her seven-month-year-old son Jose Bernardo, who was born with microcephaly, at the Associacao de Assistencia a Crianca Deficiente rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil.
Dr. Vanessa Van Der Linden shows brain scan images from a boy with microcephaly at the Associacao de Assistencia a Crianca Deficiente, a rehabilitation center for disabled children, in Recife, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016.
A health worker sprays insecticide in the Nova Descoberta neighborhood of Recife, Brazil, Feb. 1, 2016. Recife became Ground Zero for the outbreak of Zika cases.
Juliana Diniz da Slva, 22, with her three-month-old son, Pedro Henrique da Silva, in her house in Nova Descoberta, a favela in the outskirts of Recife, Brazil, Feb. 2, 2016. When she was seven months pregnant, doctors discovered the baby had the rare birth defect.
Members of the military walk the streets of the Nova Descoberta neighborhood in a campaign to prevent the transmission of the Zika virus in Recife, Brazil, Feb. 2, 2016.
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen at the Fiocruz Institute in Recife, Brazil, Feb. 2, 2016.
Isabel and Moises Albuquerque and their son son at the Associacao de Assistencia a Crianca Deficiente, a rehabilitation center for disabled children, in Recife, Brazil, Feb. 1, 201
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Sebastian Liste—NOOR for TIME
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Right now, only people who are at the Texas Children's Hospital and Houston Methodist Hospital can get this particular test, and it's being offered to people with a travel history to affected countries as well as people with symptoms suggestive of a Zika virus infection.

Pregnant women without symptoms but who have traveled to affected countries can also be tested.

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