Vitality

Zika Virus In Adult Human Eyes, New Study Discovers

A recent study has shown that the Zika virus can also be found in the human eye, in line with reports that showed links between the infection and eye diseases.

In the study, published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology, researchers from the Guangdong Provincial Institute of Public Health in China tested the eye fluids of six patients — who got infected with Zika while traveling in Venezuela — and found the Zika virus RNA.

“Here we have some evidence when the adult is infected, it would appear that highly specialized neural tissue is infected,” ABC News quoted William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, as saying. He was not associated with the study.

The virus is spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito. While most people only report a mild illness, the effects on pregnant women are more severe. Scientists have confirmed that infection during pregnancy can lead to severe brain-related birth defects, including microcephaly — a condition characterized by a small head. Children born with this condition have shown symptoms of eye infection, like lesions in the eye.

There had not been any evidence about the presence of the virus in the eyes of adults until now.

Studies like these are important to understand the effects of the virus on healthy adults, Schaffner said, adding: “Every time you seem to lift up a corner there’s something else that Zika is involved in.”

“The more we study it the nastier the virus becomes,” he added.

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