Officials warn against kissing in wake of Zika virus

February 05, 2016

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Paulo Gadelha, president of the Fiocruz research institute, told a news conference that scientists have found live samples of the Zika virus in saliva and urine samples, and the possibility it could be spread by the two body fluids.

He said that calls for special precaution to be taken with pregnant women, and suggested they avoid kissing people other than a regular partner or sharing cutlery, glasses and plates with people who have symptoms of the virus.

"This is not a generalised public health measure, for the love of God," he added, stressing both the seriousness of the discovery and reality that it was too soon to say how it could impact the epidemic.

Friday's announcement coincided with the start of Carnival, a five-day-long bacchanalia that sees millions of people take part in non-stop, alcohol-fueled parties where kissing as many people as possible is a top pastime. Gadelha underscored that the discovery needn't alter Carnival plans for anyone but pregnant women.

Gadelha also stressed that the Aedes aegpyti mosquito, which also spreads dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever, remains the virus' main vector and said the fight against the mosquito should be a top priority.

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