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New ICD-10 code for Zika

The American Health Information Management Association now has an ICD-10 code for the birth defect-causing Zika virus: A92.8.

On Feb. 5, as 11 states had reported travel-associated cases of the Zika virus, AHIMA sent an email to its members recommending they assign that code (for “other specified mosquito-borne viral fevers”) to Zika cases, ICD-10 Monitor reported.

In a post on the AHIMA coding blog, Melanie Endicott, an AHIMA senior director, advised coders to watch for further Zika alerts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the meantime, “it’s important for coders to recognize the integral signs and symptoms of Zika,” Endicott wrote.

The symptoms and other facts about Zika, according to the CDC, are:

  • Most commonly: fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis
  • Other common symptoms: muscle pain and headache
  • Symptoms are typically mild and last from several days to a week
  • The virus can remain in the blood of an infected person for a few days
  • Hospitalization is uncommon
  • Deaths are rare

The CDC also reported that there is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat Zika.

However, the agency recommends rest, fluids and pain relievers such as acetaminophen (but not aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories).

The CDC also advises preventing mosquito bites during the first week of infection because a mosquito can pass the virus from an infected person to someone else by biting different people.

Meanwhile, while there is now an ICD-10 code for it, some health IT approaches may not work well with this virus.

Unlike Ebola, which is spread by people and so can be tracked more easily using databases and other tech tools, it is harder to track the spread of Zika because there is much less reliable data on it, some researchers say.