The Zika virus has been all over the news lately. During a February 1 news conference, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), acknowledged just how serious the virus has become, describing it as “meeting the conditions for a public health emergency of international concern.” Unfortunately, neither ICD-9 nor ICD-10 include specific codes for the Zika virus. In ICD-9, coders reported code 066.3 (mosquito-borne fever NEC). In ICD-10, coders report code A92.8 (other specified mosquito-borne viral fevers). Once the partial code freeze is lifted on October 1, 2016 (if not before), we’ll hopefully get a more specific code for this condition that continues to spread.

The good news is that ICD-10 does provide more specific descriptors for other contagious and infectious diseases. Consider the following:

  1. Ebola. In ICD-9, coders reported code 078.89 (other specified diseases due to a virus). This vague code also included other conditions such as epidemic cervical myalgia and Marburg virus. Now, in ICD-10, we thankfully have a specific code for the Ebola virus disease—A98.4.
  2. Typhoid fever. In ICD-9, coders reported code 002.0 (typhoid fever). They were not prompted to report any related complications separately. In ICD-10, however, there are seven codes in the A01.0- category that denote typhoid fever. These codes include:
    • A01.00 (typhoid fever, unspecified)
    • A01.01 (typhoid meningitis)
    • A01.02 (typhoid fever with heart involvement)
    • A01.03 (typhoid pneumonia)
    • A01.04 (typhoid arthritis)
    • A01.05 (typhoid osteomyelitis)
    • A01.09 (typhoid fever with other complications)
  3. Chikungunya. In ICD-9, coders reported one of two fairly vague codes—065.4 (mosquito-borne hemorrhagic fever) or 066.3 (other mosquito-borne fever). ICD-10 includes a specific code for Chikungunya virus disease (A92.0).

Click here for more information about these conditions and why they exemplify the primary goals of ICD-10.