Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Health

Zika virus may spread through bodily fluids, study finds

As Congress debates emergency Zika funding for the third time this year, new findings from a mysterious Utah case suggest that the virus may spread through contact with bodily fluids, a worrisome new possible route of transmission.

Until now, scientists have said that Zika is spread primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be spread through sex as well as blood transfusions, and a pregnant woman can pass the virus to her fetus.

But information released Tuesday by federal and state health officials suggest that contact with bodily fluids, such as tears, discharge from infected eyes, saliva, vomit, urine or stool, could have been how a Utah man became infected after caring for his elderly father. The father died in June after contracting Zika from travel abroad. The father's blood had a level of infectious virus 100,000 times as high as the average level reported in people infected with Zika, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials are recommending that family contacts and close friends caring for Zika patients who are very sick avoid contact with the patient's bodily fluids and use good hand hygiene, said Angela Dunn, deputy state epidemiologist in Utah. Health care workers are urged to continue to apply standard precautions while caring for all patients, including those who might have Zika virus disease. Such measures include wearing gloves, masks and other personal protective equipment.

People may often be lulled into a false sense of security about the way Zika spreads, thinking it may just be through mosquitoes or sex.

Although local, state and federal officials cannot say definitively how the son became sick, the Utah case suggests that the way the virus was transmitted "doesn't appear to be one of the modes we've seen before," said Alexander Kallen, a CDC medical officer.

"It does raise the possibility that there was potential exposure to the blood and bodily fluids of the index patient, and that could have led to transmission of the second case," Kallen said.

Earlier this summer, the Food and Drug Administration asked blood centers in two Florida counties to immediately stop collection because of possible local transmission of the Zika virus. The CDC has since issued travel advisories warning pregnant women from heading to Miami Beach and an area north of downtown Miami known as Wynwood where the virus is being spread locally by mosquitoes.

As part of the investigation in Utah, health officials interviewed and tested 18 other family members, and none were positive for the virus. They also identified medical workers who cared for the elderly man and surveyed 238 households living within a 200-meter radius of the two homes in which the father lived before becoming hospitalized. Eighty-six medical workers and the community residents who agreed to provide blood or urine specimens were tested. No one else has tested positive. Nor have officials found any evidence of either mosquito species that transmit the virus, Dunn said.

Comments

Veteran who survived blast receives unusual penis transplant

WASHINGTON — A veteran who lost his genitals from a blast in Afghanistan has received the world’s most extensive penis transplant, and doctors said Monday he’s recovering well and expected to leave the hospital this week. Saying they wanted to addres...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Do not eat any romaine lettuce, the CDC warns

Do not eat any romaine lettuce, the CDC warns

Public health officials are now telling consumers to avoid all types of romaine lettuce because of an E. coli outbreak linked to the vegetable that has spread to at least 16 states and sickened at least 60 people, including eight inmates at an Alask...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida Hospital Carrollwood spending $17.5 million to expand emergency department

Florida Hospital Carrollwood spending $17.5 million to expand emergency department

Florida Hospital Carrollwood is expanding its emergency department. The hospital, 7171 North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, is spending $17.5 million to add 15 new private treatment rooms, new pediatric rooms and waiting areas, and new technology, acco...
Published: 04/18/18
Barbara Bush’s end-of-life decision stirs debate over ‘comfort care’

Barbara Bush’s end-of-life decision stirs debate over ‘comfort care’

As she nears death at age 92, former first lady Barbara Bush’s announcement that she is seeking "comfort care" is shining a light — and stirring debate — on what it means to stop trying to fight terminal illness.Bush, the wife of former President Geo...
Published: 04/17/18
Preparing for the worst, staffers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s learn through simulation

Preparing for the worst, staffers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s learn through simulation

When the patient got violent, Dr. Michelle Hidalgo didn’t have time to think. She had to react. The woman was moving strangely and seemed erratic. Hidalgo had to make a tough call — it was time to physically restrain her for everyone’s safety.Then th...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Lung cancer patients live longer with immune therapy

The odds of survival can greatly improve for people with the most common type of lung cancer if, along with the usual chemotherapy, they are also given a drug that activates the immune system, a major new study has shown.The findings should change me...
Published: 04/16/18
Thousands of pounds of prepackaged salad mixes may have been tainted with E. coli, officials say

Thousands of pounds of prepackaged salad mixes may have been tainted with E. coli, officials say

A Pennsylvania food manufacturer is recalling 8, 757 pounds of ready-to-eat salad products following an E. coli outbreak that has spread to several states and sickened dozens of people.Fresh food Manufacturing Co., based in Freedom, Pennsylvania, is ...
Published: 04/15/18
St. Anthony’s Cancer Center installs bell dedicated to survivors

St. Anthony’s Cancer Center installs bell dedicated to survivors

ST. PETERSBURGSister Mary McNally, vice president of mission at St. Anthony’s Hospital, stood in front of a room of cancer survivors to unveil a silver bell surrounded by butterfly stickers mounted to the wall of the Cancer Center lobby. "So often pe...
Published: 04/13/18
Hand dryers could leave your hands dirtier than you think

Hand dryers could leave your hands dirtier than you think

Washing your hands after you use the bathroom is a good idea. But using a public dryer could undo all that hard work, according to a new study.A study, published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, examined 36 men’s and women’s bat...
Published: 04/13/18