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Potential Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus - Volume 21, Number 2—February 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

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Potential Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus - Volume 21, Number 2—February 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

Volume 21, Number 2—February 2015


Potential Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus

Didier MussoComments to Author , Claudine Roche, Emilie Robin, Tuxuan Nhan, Anita Teissier, and Van-Mai Cao-Lormeau
Author affiliations: Institut Louis Malardé, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia


In December 2013, during a Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in French Polynesia, a patient in Tahiti sought treatment for hematospermia, and ZIKV was isolated from his semen. ZIKV transmission by sexual intercourse has been previously suspected. This observation supports the possibility that ZIKV could be transmitted sexually.
Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquitoborne arbovirus in the family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus. It was first isolated in 1947 from a rhesus monkey in the Zika forest of Uganda (1). Sporadic human cases were reported from the 1960s in Asia and Africa. The first reported large outbreak occurred in 2007 on Yap Island, Federated States of Micronesia (2). The largest known ZIKV outbreak reported started in October 2013 in French Polynesia, South Pacific (3), a territory of France comprising 67 inhabited islands; an estimated 28,000 persons (11% of the population) sought medical care for the illness (4). The most common symptoms of Zika fever are rash, fever, arthralgia, and conjunctivitis. Most of the patients had mild disease, but severe neurologic complications have been described in other patients in French Polynesia (5).

Dr. Musso is a medical doctor and director of the Diagnosis Medical Laboratory and the Unit of Emerging Infectious Diseases of the Institut Louis Malardé, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia. His research programs target endemic infectious diseases, especially arbovirus infections, leptospirosis, tuberculosis, and lymphatic filariasis.


We obtained written informed consent from the patient for publication of this report, and publication of data related to ZIKV infections have been approved by the Ethics Committee of French Polynesia under reference 66/CEPF.


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Suggested citation for this article: Musso D, Roche C, Robin E, Nhan T, Teissier A, Cao-Lormeau VM. Potential sexual transmission of Zika virus. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Feb [date cited].
DOI: 10.3201/eid2102.141363

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