What you need to know about the new Zika outbreak
We’ve been told for years that Zika can only be transmitted through sex, and while it has never been shown to be transmitted by a mosquito, we’ve always assumed that women in Brazil were infected before they became pregnant.
But a new study, published in the British Medical Journal, indicates that women who become pregnant before they become infected can also contract the virus through sex.
The researchers used data from the Brazil Health and Social Services (SBS) to look at all women who had been pregnant before and who were currently pregnant and to find that, while more than two-thirds of pregnant women in the study were infected, less than half of the infected women were infected while pregnant.
They found that of those women who were infected during pregnancy, the virus was most likely to be passed on to their babies through vaginal intercourse.
But the women who became pregnant before becoming infected could still pass the virus on to the babies, which means that they may have already been infected before their babies were born.
This is because the SBS data collected from women in a previous study, from a sample of women who did not have a detectable virus, indicated that some of the women had become pregnant and had not yet tested positive for Zika.
That was a major concern, as some of those who had already tested positive had already given birth.
The new study has some important caveats, however.
The data from that study only included women who already had symptoms of Zika and who had tested negative.
If a woman had been infected prior to becoming pregnant, it’s possible that they might have already had a baby and tested negative for Zika, so that they weren’t infected while they were pregnant.
So, if a woman who became infected in the current study becomes pregnant and then tests positive for the virus, the researchers will be unable to detect it in the data collected during that pregnancy.
That means that the researchers may have to rely on self-reported symptoms to determine whether they’re infected.
And they can’t exclude that a woman could have been infected while having sex with a partner, which would mean that her infection may not have been detected.
Another limitation is that the data gathered in this study was collected from a small group of women, not a representative sample of the Brazilian population.
That makes it hard to compare this study to other studies that have been done, which have also looked at this same set of women.
Still, this is the first study to look specifically at the transmission of Zika from infected women, which could help inform prevention efforts and the decision making process for public health agencies, who will have to decide what to do about the potential threat to the public.
The study was funded by the British government and was led by Prof. Robert Peebles of the University of Cambridge.
The authors acknowledge support from the Wellcome Trust, the UK Ministry of Health, the Brazilian Ministry of Science, and the Brazilian Government.