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Zika Virus Found in Sperm, Not Just Semen

Findings in traveler from French Guyana; similar results seen in two other patients

TUESDAY, Oct. 4, 2016 (HealthDay News) — In correspondence published in the October issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers report that the Zika virus has been found inside the sperm of a man who had just returned from French Guyana.

Scientists from INSERM (the French equivalent of the U.S. National Institutes of Health) and Toulouse University took blood, urine, and semen samples from a 32-year-old man who was showing signs of Zika infection.

The investigators found evidence of the virus in all of the samples for roughly a month after infection. But the virus persisted in the semen for 141 days. When they examined semen samples under a microscope, they found Zika was present in 3.52 percent of the man’s spermatozoa. Similar results were seen in two other patients.

It is not clear if infected sperm can transmit Zika, the researchers noted, but the finding has important implications for the prevention of sexual transmission of Zika. It also raises questions about the need to include Zika screening in the testing of sperm donations in fertility centers, the researchers said.

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