“A previously healthy, nonpregnant, 26 year-old non-Hispanic white woman returned to the United States from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, during mid-May 2016,” they wrote. “Five days after her return, signs and symptoms consistent with Zika virus infection developed, beginning with rash and subsequent fever, headache, and conjunctivitis.” Her symptoms continued for more than two weeks, including peeling of the palms of her hands and soles of her feet. “These findings advance understanding of Zika virus infection and provide data for additional testing strategies.” no dataBecause the patient showed up right away, Murray’s team was able to run a battery of tests from day one to see just what they could find out about Zika. Usually blood tests use serum, not whole blood, but the team only found Zika in serum for eight days. In whole blood, however, pieces of its RNA genetic material persisted for nearly three months. They found genetic bits of Zika virus in her blood for 81 days after symptoms started, in her saliva for eight days and in her vagina for 14 days. Related: Any Kind of Sex Can Spread Zika “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,” the team concluded. Zika is known to infect people sexually. It can stay in a man’s semen for months and many people who never went near a Zika zone have been infected by sex partners who traveled to one.
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