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Zika Virus Can Be Transmitted Through Kissing

Update Date: Feb 07, 2016 06:02 PM EST
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The Zika crisis has become increasingly complex as infections take on a more global spread. Recent updates, however, present an even more troubling development. Brazilian scientists revealed last Friday lab results indicating "active presence" of the virus in bodily fluids like saliva and urine according to a report by The Washington Post.

It was previously thought that Zika was entirely transmitted by mosquitoes- Aedes Aegypti which is also a carrier of other deadly mosquito-borne viruses like dengue and malaria.

But as researchers dig deeper, there have been worrying signs that infections can also occur through sexual encounters or blood transfusion. The new discovery also means an even more sensitive care should be given to expectant mothers because of numerous reports tying the infections to serious birth defects including severe neurological disorders like microcephaly.

Does this mean that a person can get infected through kissing?

"The significance of the results is unclear. We know, for example, that dengue is only transmitted via Aedes mosquito bites, and yet we can find the dengue genome in urine and saliva. So more research would need to be done to determine if Zika can be transmitted via kissing," remarked Dr. Peter J. Hotez of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine as quoted saying by The New York Times.

However, some health experts are insisting on avoiding having sex, kissing, or sharing drinking glasses and food cutlery with anyone suspected of being infected with the virus.

"The warning is crazy and unnecessary. Just because the virus is present in saliva does not mean it can be transmitted that way," reacted Rubio Soares Campos, who was one of those who identified the first case in Brazil as mentioned in a report by The Guardian.

He pointed out that the virus is likely to behave just like its dengue cousin. While traces of the virus can be found in bodily fluids, it doesn't automatically mean that it spreads to other people in such manner.

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