A study a recently published study in Europe suggests that Zika virus can survive in men’s semen for up to six months. The interval is twice as long as researchers had originally estimated.
Study authors analyzed a patient’s bodily fluids after returning from a non-epidemic area and found genetic traces of the virus in his semen after 181 days. Reportedly the patient, who is in his early 40’s, experienced skin rash and fever after a trip to Hawaii. The man’s identity wasn’t disclosed but he currently lives in Italy.
The research also revealed that the man had traces of the virus in his saliva 47 days after the first signs of the infection, in his blood nine days, and in his urine 15 days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends men to abstain from unprotected sex for six months after the first diagnosis with Zika.
The recent findings which were published in the journal Eurosurveillance are more concerning than the results of another study conducted and published in The Lancet medical journal earlier this year.
According to the Lancet study, Zika virus was found in the semen of a 27-year-old man who had traveled to a non-high-risk area 93 days after he had contracted the disease.
Zika virus has been around for ages in Africa and Asia, but it was kept on a low-profile until the last year’s outbreak in Brazil. Scientists found that the infection can negatively impact human health and cause fetal defects.
Zika is usually transmitted to humans through mosquito bites but recent studies have found that it can be passed on through blood transfusions or unprotected sex, as well.
The man in the Lancet study learned he had an aggressive sarcoma in February, 2016. Since he was advised to undergo aggressive chemotherapy he visited a center for analysis and conservation of human sperm in France.
Under the French laws, patients visiting such banks need to undergo some procedures if they returned from Zika-plagued areas. So, each patient that may carry Zika must have his semen checked for the virus within 6 months since his return and delay semen preservation procedures for 28 days.
The man acknowledged that he had been on a trip to southeast Asia, which is not an epidemic area. However, he agreed to have his blood, semen and saliva checked on March 9, 2016. The Toulouse University Hospital’ virology department, which has analyzed the samples, reported that no traces of the infection were found in his blood and saliva, but it found Zika virus genome twice in the man’s semen.
Image Source: Pixabay