Zika turning into a bit of a debacle – you can?t even kiss now

The?Zika virus is sounding pretty nasty, and now kissing is off the agenda.

Scientists identified the Zika virus in the saliva and urine of two infected patients, a top Brazilian biomedical research institution said on Friday, prompting its president to urge pregnant women not to kiss strangers just as local carnival celebrations begin.

The discovery added to the rising concern over Zika, which is spreading rapidly in the Americans and has been linked to thousands of severe birth defects in Brazil.

They said they used genetic testing to identify the virus in saliva and urine samples from two patients who had symptoms caused by Zika infection, and determined that the virus was active, meaning it had the potential to cause infection, scientists at the public Oswaldo Cruz Foundation said.

They said more research was needed to determine whether Zika could be transmitted by either fluid. ?

This marked the first time the mosquito-borne infection that has prompted a global health scare has been detected in saliva and urine, the scientists told reporters in Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 summer Olympic Games in August.

The vast majority of Zika infections have been caused by mosquito bites, but word surfaced this week of infections caused by sexual transmission and blood transfusions.

These developments come just as Rio kicks off its annual carnival celebrations, a raucous five-day bacchanalia known for street parties and lots of alcohol and kissing. Some revellers even keep track of the number of complete strangers they kiss.

Because Zika has been linked to the birth defect microcephaly, a condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads and can suffer developmental problems, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation scientists recommended that pregnant women take special precautions and avoid crowds during carnival.

“In light of the possibility of being in contact with someone who is infected, do not kiss, obviously,” Dr?Paulo Gadelha, the foundation’s president, told reporters.

“We cannot say today that there is no possibility of transmission,” Gadelha added.

Is this virus another Green screw up?

It is mosquito borne, and the Green hippy types lobbied years ago for the removal of DDT in the battle against mosquitoes. Since then malaria has continued to kill millions; it is in the top 5 killer diseases, and now we have Zika. Drastic measures are going to need to be taken.

 

– Fairfax

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