Zika Virus Found in|Tears of Infected Adults

     (CN) — On the heels of finding the Zika virus in the tears of mice, researchers have now found the virus in the fluid around the eyes of infected adults.
     In a study published Thursday in the Journal for the American Medical Association Ophthalmology, researchers say they found Zika RNA in the eyes of six patients infected in South America. The patients were swabbed by researchers from the Guangdong Provincial Institute of Public Health in China.
     “Here we have some evidence when the adult is infected, it would appear that highly specialized neural tissue is infected,” William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told ABC News.
     Schaffner, who was not involved in the study, said the next step would be examining if the virus causes any vision problems. Zika can cause severe eye damage in developing fetuses, but its effect on adults is still unknown.
     Babies born with microcephaly — a congenital disorder that leads to abnormally small heads, potential brain damage and even stillbirths — have exhibited symptoms of eye infection including lesions, but it is unclear if the development of microcephaly or Zika itself led to the lesions.
     In a previous study, researchers found Zika’s genetic material in the tears of mice, which they believe is the reason why some Zika patients develop uveitis, a condition that can lead to permanent vision loss.
     “Every time you seem to lift up a corner there’s something else that Zika is involved in,” said Schaffner. “The more we study it the nastier the virus becomes.”

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