East County News Service
February 5, 2016 (San Diego) — Medical researchers in Brazil have found Zika virus in saliva and urine of two patients. Dr. Paulo Gadelha, president of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil that found the viruses in these body fluids, urged that pregnant women or other visitors concerned about contracting the virus avoid kissing strangers at this week’s Carnival in Brazil.
That could also spell concern for pregnant women whose partners have traveled to 24 countries where Zika virus has now been confirmed. The researchers said more research is needed, however, to confirm whether Zika can be transmitted by kissing.
The findings come on the heels of news earlier this week that a Texas patient contracted Zika through sex with a traveler who visited a Zika-infested area, the second known sexual transmission of the disease.
Zika is suspected of causing thousands of babies to be born with microcephaly, causing brain damage, seizures and other serious problems. It is also believed responsible for paralysis via Guillain Barre syndrome, though 80% of people who contract the virus have no symptoms.
Some global health experts have voiced concern over the Olympics slated to occur in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August. The International Olympic Committee has issued cautionary warnings for pregnant athletes and fear of Zika will likely keep some spectators away. Medical experts have voiced concern that returning athletes and spectators could carry Zika to countries around the world.
Brazil has contended that since the Olympics will occur in the Southern hemisphere’s winter, the mosquito-borne virus can be contained in the area where the Olympics will be held and thus far no cases have been reported in Rio de Janeiro.