HealthDay News — The Zika virus can be detected in conjunctival fluid, according to a research letter published online September 15 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Scientists led by Changwen Ke, PhD, from the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Guangzhou, China, collected eye swab samples from six Chinese travelers who had been infected with Zika in Venezuela within the past several months.

The virus was detected five days after the onset of their symptoms. In one traveler, it was detected in eye swab samples seven days later. 

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The investigators pointed out, however, that more research is needed before new recommendations can be made on the use of eye swabs instead of other body fluid samples when diagnosing Zika infection. They added that the virus may not linger as long in conjunctival fluid as it does in urine and saliva. The findings also raise concerns about the possible spread of Zika virus through corneal transplants, the study authors noted.

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