Coding Zika Virus

By Melanie Endicott

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys. There has recently been a rise in incidences of the Zika virus in Brazil. More than 13 countries in the Americas have reported sporadic Zika virus infections, indicating that the virus is expanding geographically. You can read more facts about the Zika virus on the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

It’s important for coders to recognize the integral signs and symptoms of Zika. Here is the list from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Most common symptoms: 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
  • There have been reports of microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant

ICD-10-CM Coding for Zika

Per the CDC, the correct code for confirmed Zika virus infection is A92.8, Other specified mosquito-borne viral fevers. Further guidance on correct coding in various clinical scenarios will be forthcoming from the CDC and posted to the CDC website. Be on the lookout for more information.

Has your facility seen any incidences of the Zika virus? Are there other conditions, such as Zika, where you struggle with finding the appropriate code?

Melanie Endicott, MBA/HCM, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCS-P, FAHIMA, is senior director of HIM practice excellence, coding and CDI products development at AHIMA. She has over 15 years experience in HIM and coding, with her most recent focus being in ICD-10-CM/PCS, and has presented numerous times at the regional, state, and national levels on HIM and coding topics. She was previously a director of HIM practice excellence, focusing on coding products, resources, and education, at AHIMA. Melanie is an AHIMA-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer and an ICD-10 Ambassador.

Original source:
Endicott, Melanie. "Coding Zika Virus" (Journal of AHIMA website), February 10, 2016.