Zika Virus Found in Tears

Sep 08, 2016, 01:36
Zika Virus Found in Tears

World Health Organization cited recent studies that show even people who haven't had symptoms of Zika infection might be able to infect other sexually.

"Sexually active men and women must be correctly counselled and offered a full range of contraceptive methods to be able to make an informed choice about whether and when to become pregnant, in order to prevent possible adverse pregnancy and fetal outcomes", said the WHO.

Public Health England said it was reviewing the WHO's new advice and would change its own guidance if necessary.

In a study published Tuesday in Cell Reports, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis describe the effect of Zika virus infections in the eyes of mouse fetuses, newborns and adults. Zika is believed to cause brain defects in infants, the symptom for which it's most widely known.

Samples of mouse tears were taken 28 days after infection, according to the researchers.

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Researchers said bodily fluids, including tears, are one possibility for how an elderly Utah man may have spread the virus to his son.

In this January 27, 2016 file photo, an Aedes aegypti mosquito known to carry the Zika virus, is photographed through a microscope at the Fiocruz institute in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil.

"Even though we didn't find live virus in mouse tears, that doesn't mean that it couldn't be infectious in humans", said study lead author Dr. Jonathan Miner, an instructor in medicine.

The scientists cautioned that more studies are needed to determine if tears could spread the Zika virus in people.

Zika does cause conjunctivitis and eyes are a so-called immune-privileged site, meaning the immune system is not as active there and can not easily destroy infectious viruses and bacteria.

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Culex is 20 times more common than the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is the main spreader of Zika.

In adults, Zika can cause conjunctivitis - redness and itchiness of the eyes.

The majority of cases, 106, are associated with travel to the Caribbean, according to the figures from Public Health England.

Last week, the Health Ministry released a statement saying that from 2007 to 2010, seven Zika cases had been found in the Kingdom with all patients recovering.

The advisory recommended that USA citizens travelling to or residing in the Bahamas enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveller Enrolment Programme (STEP), which provides those enrolled with security updates and direct link to local consulates in case of emergencies.

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The work has come about as Zika researchers are confounded by the rate at which the virus is spreading, which appears to be more quickly than by mosquito-borne transmission alone. This is the sixth Zika case recorded in the country since 2012.

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