Zika detected in woman's vagina weeks after infection

Researchers detected the Zika virus in a woman's vaginal secretions two weeks after symptom onset, according to a case study published in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. The findings could aid in the further development of evidence-based policies regarding diagnosis and clinical management of Zika.

For this observational study, a research team with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston monitored the clinical progression of Zika in a 26-year-old woman who contracted the virus while traveling to Honduras. Five days after her return, symptoms consistent with Zika virus, including fever, rash and conjunctivitis, began. Because the patient sought treatment immediately, researchers had the unique opportunity to begin their observations the day of symptom onset.

Researchers detected Zika in the patient's saliva at day eight and in her blood at day 81 and. In vaginal secretions, Zika was detectable 14 days after symptoms began, surpassing a previously documented case in which the presence of the virus was detected in the vagina 11 days after symptom onset.

"With the recent finding of possible female-to-male virus transmission, infectious virus might be present in the vaginal canal and could serve as a risk for sexual or intrapartum (during birth) transmission," wrote the study's authors.

As of Oct. 6, 23 infants in the U.S. have been born with Zika-related birth defects, and five pregnancies involving birth defects have been lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or termination.

More articles on the Zika virus: 
Bloodworks official accuses Red Cross of failing to adhere to Zika blood-screening guidelines 
Immunity may develop after Zika infection 
CDC Director Tom Frieden on Zika, obesity, gun violence and more: 7 quotes

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