Sex is Causing Zika to Spread More Than First Realised

WHO broadens Zika safe sex guidelines for travellers

Zika virus may linger in your eyes, according to a discovery made by a group of researchers who found it in the eyes of mice.

Zika virus causes mild disease in most adults but can cause brain damage and death in fetuses.

Almost a third of all babies infected in utero with Zika also showed eye disease such as inflammation of the optic nerve, retinal damage or blindness after birth.

“Based on observational, cohort and case-control studies there is strong scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of GBS, microcephaly and other neurological disorders”, the agency said in a statement on Wednesday. Yet, the researchers are still working on determining exactly how the virus travels from the brain to the eyes as there are many possibilities, such as through the blood-retina barrier or through the optic nerve. In June, researchers announced that Zika RNA had been found in a woman’s vaginal fluids and cervical mucous after the virus had left her bloodstream.

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered that the Zika virus is able to live on the eyes.

“As CDC has said repeatedly, we are in a fast-changing research environment with the Zika virus”, said Benjamin Hayes, a CDC spokesman.

In its Interim Guidance Update on the prevention of the sexual transmission of Zika, the World Health Organization extended its recommendation on safe sex from eight weeks to six months after “current evidence on the persistence of the virus” in semen and other body fluids. Although the virus wasn’t infectious, the same can not be said on how it might affect humans. Some researchers are also considering whether other bodily fluids may play a role.

Also, the eyes of mice could be used to test anti-Zika drugs, the authors suggested.

“Zika virus is a virus related to dengue, chikungunya and other viruses in which the source is from a mosquito bite”.

In another Zika sufferer, the concentration of the virus in his semen was 100,000 more than that in his blood 14 days after he was diagnosed.

According to Dr. Benjamin Neuman, a virologist at Texas AM University-Texarkana, looking at the Zika virus as more than just a mosquito-borne disease is the new normal. “Note that a positive Zika test may not mean your unborn child is infected or harmed”.

But WHO officials say that is no longer long enough.

But Aude Vazart, a French engineer who gave birth in Singapore last week, told Reuters leaving the island to avoid Zika was “too extreme”. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation, now ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News World Report.