Saturday, November 12, 2016

Secondary Nonsexual Transmission of Zika Infection In US

A letter to the editor in the NEJM discusses the ability of Zika to transmit in a nonsexual manner and lead to a fatal Zika virus infection. Looking at two patients who passed away in a hospital in Salt Lake City supports this claim.
            A 73-year-old male traveled to a ZIKV area in Mexico and reported getting bitten by a mosquito while there. Upon his return to the United States, he reported having a number of symptoms such as fever, pharyngitis, and abdominal pain and his lab reports later showed renal insufficiency and mild hypoglycemia. This patient’s symptoms quickly worsened and on the 4th day of hospitalization he passed away. Then, within a week, a 38-year-old male who had visited the 78-year –old patient also went to the hospital and tested positive for ZIKV. However, patient 2 never traveled to Mexico and Salt Lake City had no found any ZIKV-mosquitos present in the surrounding area. Therefore, given that he had not traveled to a ZIKV-infected area or had sexual intercourse with a partner who had traveled to such area, it is highly speculated that he got the infection from patient 1.
            Therefore, this author is stating that it is important to consider the other ways that Zika might transmit amongst individuals. While Zika is typically known to only be attained by a mosquito bite or sexual intercourse, these 2 cases suggest otherwise and therefore health precautions should be taken when caring for Zika-infected individuals, both by healthcare workers and family members.

--Jeanette Rios

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