Friday, February 12, 2016

Sexual Transmission of the Zika Virus

A recent case of Zika virus infection in a man whose sexual partner returned from Venezuela with a Zika virus infection raises the distinct possibility that it may be possible for the virus to be transmitted sexually. How easily it is transmitted via sexual contact, and at what point during an infection it may be transmitted, isn't known. But the finding is cause for concern because it means that an outbreak could spread beyond areas in which the Zika-transmitting mosquito is found. The World Health Organization (WHO) will be following this latest development closely.

In related news, laboratory tests have detected the Zika virus in the saliva and urine of at least two people with Zika virus infections. Most people don't come in direct contact with urine, but person-to-person saliva contact is another matter. At this time it isn't known whether Zika infection via contact with saliva is even possible. Nevertheless, revelers at Brazil's annual street festival known as Carnival are being urged to forego the common practice of kissing total strangers, just as a precaution.

We need to know a lot more about this virus, that's for sure.

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