A new possible and worrisome route of transmission for the Zika virus may be through contact with bodily fluids. The first person to die from Zika virus infection was an unidentified elderly man of Salt Lake City, Utah. The man caught the Zika virus while traveling abroad to a Zika infected area. He also suffered from another health condition when he died this past June. This particular case of Zika has been puzzling researchers since the virus mysteriously spread from the elderly man to his son.
Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly how the virus spread. The man’s son helped take care of his dying father in the hospital and hugged his father according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report. The report also stated that the father had an extremely high level of the virus in his blood when he died. No other family members or health workers working with the Utah man have contracted the virus. Even though his son has recovered from the Zika infection, it is uncertain how he contacted the virus since he did not travel to any Zika affected areas or had sex with anyone who did according to the CDC report.
Currently, Zika virus has been found in blood, urine, semen, and saliva. Zika virus mostly spreads to people that have been bitten by an infected Aedes species mosquito. An infected mother can also spread Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy. A person infected with Zika can also spread the virus to his or her sexual partners. Zika might be spread through blood transfusion as multiple reports of these cases in Brazil are being currently investigated. This new case of the Utah man’s son might prove to be a unique new way the virus can spread which may be through bodily fluids such as blood but also sweat or tears.