Zika may linger in semen for shorter time than thought

From CBS News
April 12, 2018

Guidelines in place for protecting against the sexual transmission of Zika virus need to be re-evaluated, based on a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC currently recommends that men who have traveled to a Zika-active region either use condoms or abstain from sex for at least 6 months.

But that guideline is based on data showing that genetic traces of Zika virus can be found in semen 180 days after infection.

The new data shows that actual infectious Zika particles remain in semen for much less time than those non-infectious genetic traces, said lead researcher Dr. Paul Mead, a CDC epidemiologist in Fort Collins, Colo.

Infectious Zika virus particles are more rarely found in semen, and appear to clear out within a month of infection, Mead said.

“Based on this new information, we certainly will be re-evaluating those guidelines,” he added. “We will be looking at it to see whether or not the recommendations should be modified.”

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