Brazil finds active Zika virus in saliva and urine
Amid fears that the Zika virus, which causes a condition known as microcephaly in babies, could be spread via saliva, pregnant women in Brazil have been warned to avoid kissing strangers or sharing cutlery and crockery with them.
The warning comes after Fiocruz, the Brazilian government’s health institute, confirmed that it had discovered active traces of Zika in saliva and urine.
Officials said they had launched an investigation into the possible transmission of the mosquito-borne virus through bodily fluids.
Fiocruz director Paulo Gadelha suggested pregnant women avoid kissing people other than a regular partner or sharing cutlery, glasses and plates with people who have symptoms of the virus. Scientists at the institute are still trying to determine if the bodily fluids can spread Zika to new patients.
The virus found in the saliva and urine was deemed active, meaning it was able to cause infection, but the scientists stressed that it was too early to say whether Zika could be transmitted by either fluid.
Myrna Bonaldo, one of the scientists who made the discovery, said: “The fact that the virus was found with the capacity to cause infection is not proof that it can contaminate other people through those fluids. We are merely taking precautions.”
The news of the Zika virus being detected in urine and saliva samples came a few days after Brazilian officials revealed they had detected two cases where the virus had spread via blood transfusions.
The latest revelation adds yet another dimension to the evolving crisis.
– Staff reporter