Zika Patient Infects Family Member Who Looked After Him, Is There A New Way Of Virus Transmission?

By Elizabeth Anderson, Parent Herald July 20, 09:58 am

The Zika virus has infected a man from Utah after caring for his father who was infected by the virus and later died. This apparent person to person transmission of the Zika virus seems to be a new way of transmission as the virus is only presently known to spread through mosquito bites and sexual contact.

The father's blood had an "extremely large amount" of the Zika virus, according to a report by the Associated Press posted in ABC News. Infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner was quoted as saying that high levels of the Zika virus could have possibly been in the man's saliva and urine and may have been passed to the son through saliva or blood if he had a cut or scrape. The son recovered.

No Evidence For Person To Person Zika Transmission

"The new case in Utah is a surprise, showing that we still have more to learn about Zika," said Dr. Erin Staples, as per a report from NBC News. Staples is an epidemiologist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who is helping investigate the unique case of Zika virus transmission.

"We don't have evidence that Zika can be passed from one person to another by sneezing, coughing, by hugging or kissing," Dr. Satish Pillai told the press as quoted in the report. Pillai is the CDC's incidence manager for this particular Zika virus case. According to the Salt Lake County Department of Health, yhe elderly man had traveled to a place with the Zika virus and died of unknown causes.

More Investigation And Tests For Zika Case

According to a report from the NPR, the caregiver and other family members are being interviewed by both federal and the state of Utah's investigators as they trace the route of the Zika virus' transmission from the infected father. The report also said health workers who cared for the elderly man are also being tested if they had contracted the Zika virus. Local mosquitoes are reportedly being tested as well.

"Our knowledge of this virus continues to evolve and our investigation is expected to help us better understand how this individual became infected," Dr. Angela Dunn, was quoted in the report as saying. Dunn is Utah's deputy state epidemiologist.

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