Zika Found in Sperm 6 Months After Infection

     (CN) — The Zika virus can last in men’s sperm for twice as long as previously thought, according to a study published Friday.
     An Italian man carried the mosquito-borne virus in his sperm for six months after initially experiencing symptoms of the virus, twice as long as a 27-year-old French man who tested positive for Zika three months after the initial infection.
     A study published in the journal Eurosurveillance says the 30-year-old Italian man presented symptoms including a skin rash, fatigue and fever during a visit to Haiti in January. When he returned to Italy, tests showed the Zika RNA was still present in his bodily fluids 91 days after the onset of symptoms.
     Doctors at the Spallanzani Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome said their analysis of the man suggested the possibility of the virus reproducing itself in the male genital tract.
     Based on their findings, the doctors recommend delaying sexual contact without a condom for at least six months if their partner is pregnant or wants to become pregnant.
     Zika was only detectable in the man’s sperm after 134 days. But his sperm tested positive for the virus until 188 days after the initial onset of symptoms, according to the doctors.
     The French man tested positive for Zika 93 days after his symptoms began, which was highlighted in the journal The Lancet in July. Previously, a British man carried the virus in his semen 62 days after onset of symptoms.
     Only about 20 percent of adults infected with Zika experience symptoms, which makes identifying the infection and limiting risk of sexually transmitting the virus more challenging.

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