Brazil finds ac­tive Zika virus in saliva and urine

CityPress - - News -

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

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