Zika Risk: Virus May Be Transmitted Through Oral Sex

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Zika Risk: Virus May Be Transmitted Through Oral Sex
Zika Risk: Virus May Be Transmitted Through Oral Sex

HealthDay News — New research suggests that it may be possible to transmit Zika virus through oral sex. The research letter was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the report, doctors said a 24-year-old woman in Paris came down with Zika symptoms after having sex 7 times with a 46-year-old man. The man had developed Zika symptoms just before leaving Brazil and arriving in Paris last February. Each time, the couple had vaginal sex without ejaculation and oral sex with ejaculation, according to the report.

Yazdan Yazdanpanah, MD, PhD, report coauthor and an infectious disease specialist at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris, told The New York Times that the couple was using oral sex as a method of birth control. The woman became sick shortly afterwards, and both she and the man were tested for presence of the Zika virus. The man had high levels of the virus in his semen and urine, but none in his blood or saliva. The woman had the virus in her urine and saliva, and antibodies to the virus in her blood. However, the doctors noted that they found no sign of Zika in a vaginal swab taken from the woman.

The doctors added they can't rule out vaginal transmission or even infection during deep kissing, since the man's saliva was not tested while he had symptoms.

Reference

D'ortenzio E, Matheron S, Yazdanpanah Y, et al. Evidence of Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus. N Engl J Med. 2016;374(22):2195-8.

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