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Zika Virus Can Survive In The Eyes, Genetic Material Found In Tears

09 September 2016

Dr Senanayake said mosquito-borne infection with Zika was still the most common way of getting the virus, but sexual transmission - including women infecting men - was more common than initially thought.

Genetic material from the Zika virus is present in the tears of infected mice, which suggests the virus may linger in the eyes, researchers say.

But it can cause birth defects, including microcephaly, which leads to babies born with abnormally small heads and brains.

The World Health Organization (WHO) updated its recommended guidelines for those who have been diagnosed with the Zika virus or live in infected areas to help prevent sexual transmission. However, last month, two neighborhoods in the Miami area reported cases of locally acquired infection.

For the study, researchers gathered several hundred mosquitoes in four areas of Rio and fed them Zika-infected blood.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which has declared Zika an global health emergency, says more research is needed to determine the effects of the different Zika strains.

The Baiyun Airport inspection and quarantine personnel provide free tests of Zika virus for passengers.

Many people infected with Zika won't have symptoms or will only have mild ones - a fever, rash and muscle/joint aches.

A recent report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also detailed the first documented case of a woman who contracted the Zika virus through sex with a male partner who did not have any signs of infection.

There are more reasons to be cautious of the Zika virus as experts have discovered, in a new research, that it could last longer in the eyes. And if sexual transmission is not playing a major role, it is possible that some other bodily fluid may be helping the virus' quick spread.

Diamond and his colleagues found the viral RNA was still present in mouse tears 28 days after scientists infected them with Zika.

The researchers were able to show that the Zika virus is alive in mouse eyes after seven days but they were not able to determine how it was able to travel to the eyes.

Zika is spreading fast so researchers are on a race to understand all the means of transmission for the virus. Right now we only know it can be spread through mosquitoes and sex. Nearly one month after infection, the researchers still found genetic material from Zika in the tears of the infected mice. It said the risk to people in the United Kingdom remained very low.

China will offer Zika health screenings for travellers from Singapore and other affected countries, the quarantine bureau said on Wednesday, without explaining whether the tests would be compulsory.