Cologne - In Germany, an infection with the Zika virus has been detected in 15 people returning from traveling. The cases are related to the current outbreak in Central and South America. This was announced by Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit from Hamburg. However, there was no pregnant woman among them, he said.
In suspected cases, the tropical doctor generally recommends diagnostic work-up - even if the Zika virus infection is mild in most cases and there is no causal therapy. For example, the possibility of sexual transmission is being described, Schmidt-Chanasit points out. However, it is unclear under what conditions and at what viral load such disease is possible. “We have no data on how long the viruses can be present in the sperm,” explained Schmidt-Chanasit. In this respect, it is advisable to rule out an infection in men as well, if there is desire to have children.
In Brazil, cases of microcephaly have occurred frequently in newborns in the temporal and spatial connection with Zika virus infections. It is believed that the cause could be disease in the mother during pregnancy. There are now Zika virus infections in more than 20 countries in Central and South America.
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Doctors in Germany can either send sample material directly to the Bernhard Nocht Institute or to the laboratory they usually work with. This then forwards the sample. A blood and urine sample are required for diagnosis. At the beginning of the disease, PCR virus detection is possible, later also an antibody detection. From the 4th week of illness onwards, it is only possible to detect antibodies, for which blood sample is required. The Bernhard Nocht Institute is the national reference center for tropical infectious agents.