Thursday, August 11, 2016

Eurosurveillance: 2 Reports Of Zika RNA Detection In Semen Six Months After Infection











#11,625



With the caveat that detection of viral RNA is not the same as the isolation of live, viable, virus - we've two reports in the journal Eurosurveillance suggesting that the Zika viral RNA  may remain detectable for as long as six months in some post-convalescent patients.

Whether either of these patients are capable of passing on the Zika virus at this late stage is unknown, although the authors admit it is possible.  

The links and abstracts follow.


Eurosurveillance, Volume 21, Issue 32, 11 August 2016
Rapid communication


Infection dynamics in a traveller with persistent shedding of Zika virus RNA in semen for six months after returning from Haiti to Italy, January 2016

L Barzon 1 2 , M Pacenti 2 , E Franchin 1 2 , E Lavezzo 1 , M Trevisan 1 , D Sgarabotto 3 , G Pal├╣ 1 2

We describe the dynamics of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection in a man in his early 40s who developed fever and rash after returning from Haiti to Italy, in January 2016. Follow-up laboratory testing demonstrated detectable ZIKV RNA in plasma up to day 9 after symptom onset and in urine and saliva up to days 15 and 47, respectively. Notably, persistent shedding of ZIKV RNA was demonstrated in semen, still detectable at 181 days after onset.


Eurosurveillance, Volume 21, Issue 32, 11 August 2016

Rapid communication


Persistent detection of Zika virus RNA in semen for six months after symptom onset in a traveller returning from Haiti to Italy, February 2016
February 2016

E Nicastri 1 , C Castilletti 1 , G Liuzzi 1 , M Iannetta 1 , MR Capobianchi 1 , G Ippolito 1

A man in his early 30s reported in January 2016 a history of fever, asthenia and erythematous rash during a stay in Haiti. On his return to Italy, ZIKV RNA was detected in his urine and saliva 91 days after symptom onset, and in his semen on day 188, six months after symptom onset. Our findings support the possibility of sexual transmission of ZIKV and highlight the importance of continuing to investigate non-vector-borne ZIKV infection.
(SNIP)

Public health impact

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization recommend that all travellers returning from areas with ongoing ZIKV transmission should adopt safer sex practices or consider abstinence for at least eight weeks after their return [4,19]; if men have ZIKV-related symptoms, they should adopt safer sex practices or consider abstinence for at least six months.

Considering the 80% incidence rate of asymptomatic ZIKV infection [20], further studies are needed to assess viral persistence in asymptomatic men and the potential risk for sexual transmission and fetal abnormalities following infection during pregnancy. The prolonged genital shedding reported here may have implications for screening measures to detect ZIKV RNA for semen cryopreservation in sperm banks [21].

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