Gene variant may protect against Zika infection after birth

The risk of transmission of Zika virus to an individual through sexual contact or, via pregnancy, to the baby can be considered low when the child develops clinical symptoms and receives rapid antiviral treatment, aims researchers from Karolinska Institutet. The results of this study are published in the scientific journal Paediatric Infectious Diseases.

Zika virus is found in human saliva and mosquitoes, and most often occurs in the region of northeast Brazil, Africa and the Caribbean. The virus is transmitted by infected animals from infected humans with closely-related immunity transferred via infected mosquitoes. The virus can be transmitted via sexual contact (kissing or touching) and through vaginal and genital contact (penile, anal and penile) as well as via saliva. The virus is most common in Latin America.

Director and senior author of the study, Professor Anne Vetterboom at the Department of Medical Epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet, highlights: “We have to be aware of the fact that Zika virus is not particularly pathogenic, but has a risk of spreading sexually during pregnancy at women who are infected and which we call Sex Pregnancy Risk Undetermined (SPRUD). “

In order to be considered low risk, a patient has to:

“The results of our study suggest that the risk of pruritic forms of Zika virus infection may need to be considered low in the general population, if the acquired immunity of the infected person, but not immunity from the mosquito bite, can be maintained in the general population. “