Zika: Rethinking Guidelines

The CDC is rethinking its guidelines for preventing sexually transmitted Zika virus after researchers discovered semen may not remain infectious for as long as once thought. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the window for sexual transmission usually falls within 1 month of infection.

Researchers found Zika genetic material lingered for many months post-illness, but infectious particles only appeared within a month thereafter.

The findings show that for public health recommendations, “the goal should be the determination of infectivity,” which is better-achieved through viral isolation than molecular detection, writes the NIH’s Heinz Feldmann in an accompanying commentary.


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