Zika virus is widely known to be spread by mosquitoes, but the recent findings has shown that, it can also be transmitted via oral sex, French researchers report.
It started with a woman who got sick in Paris last February. She got the classic Zika rash and muscle aches, and had not been to any Zika-affected areas. But a man she knew had been in Rio and also had a rash.
They call her "Patient 1."
"Patient 1 reported sexual contact between February 11 and February 20, 2016, with a man (Patient 2, the index patient) who had stayed in Brazil from December 11, 2015, through February 9, 2016," Dr. Eric D'Ortenzio and colleagues wrote in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine.
The 46-year-old man also had a rash that cleared up when he traveled from Brazil to France.
"The sexual contact involved seven episodes of both vaginal sexual intercourse, without ejaculation and without the use of a condom, and oral sex with ejaculation," they added.
These data support the hypothesis of sexual transmission (either oral or vaginal) of Zika virus from Patient 2 to Patient 1."
Zika can also be found in saliva and urine, and the doctors note that saliva may be the culprit. But they don't think so.
"We cannot rule out the possibility that transmission occurred not through semen but through other biologic fluids, such as pre-ejaculate secretions or saliva exchanged through deep kissing," they wrote.
The 24-year-old woman did have Zika in her saliva, the researchers said.
"The saliva of Patient 2 tested negative on day 10 after the onset of his symptoms, but it was not tested earlier. Zika virus has been detected in saliva, but, to our knowledge, no cases of transmission through saliva have been documented," they wrote.