New Zika Case Raises Questions on Transmission

New Zika Case Raises Questions on Transmission
Disease Research

An unnamed individual in Utah has been reported to be carrying the Zika virus, but no one is quite sure how the virus was transmitted to the person. Experts are already clear that Zika transmits through mosquito bites and sexual contact with someone who is infected with the virus. They are also certain that the virus is tied to microcephaly in unborn babies. However, this case is incredibly unusual, because the person has no known risk factors for developing the virus.

The individual has not traveled to a country where Zika is present. There has been no evidence of any Zika-infected mosquitoes within Utah, and this person has not had sexual relations with someone infected with the Zika virus.

However, this person did care for an elderly man who recently died of unknown causes. This man was reported to have a high amount of the Zika virus in his blood at the time of his death. The circumstance raises questions in researchers as to how the virus can actually spread, and whether or not there is a conduit they are currently not familiar with, or if this is, perhaps, simply a freak circumstance.

It wasn’t until 2011 that doctors were certain that the Zika virus could be spread through semen, and not until earlier this year that it was suggested that it could also be spread through vaginal fluid. Thus, this could be the beginning of discovering a new way in which the disease transmits itself.

William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt stated:

“It’s a provocative circumstance that may indeed reveal something we don’t know, but we have to let these investigations run their course.”

Investigators are testing close family members for the Zika virus and are trapping mosquitos local to where the individual lives to further rule out any infected mosquitos.

Researchers are also saying that there is a remote possibility that the illness can spread like the flu or by transmitting the virus between one another in the air.

However, Dr. Amesh Adalja, a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America said:

“It may just be an extraordinary circumstance that’s not really generalizable.”


ABC News