Researchers in Italy are saying that they have detected Zika virus in the sperm of a man infected with the mosquito borne virus six months later, according to an El Mundo report (computer translated).


The Spallanzani Institute in Rome has been monitoring the 30-year-old man who contracted the virus while in Haiti in January. The study was published in the journal Eurosurveillance earlier this month.

The man had a history of five-day self-limiting febrile syndrome and rash in the end of January into early February. Zika virus (ZIKV) infection was diagnosed in Haiti by ZIKV-specific IgM serology four days after symptom onset. He returned to Italy 14 days after symptom onset.

Testing of convalescent sera taken 91 and 134 days after symptom onset were ZIKV real-time RT-PCR negative. On day 91, the test was positive for urine, saliva and semen samples.

On day 134, only a semen sample was positive. At the subsequent follow-up, on day 188, a semen sample was again positive; the patient is still under evaluation.

The man suffered no chronic disease or immunodeficiency. During this period, the man used condoms in relations with his wife who has tested negative for the virus.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the World Health Organization recommend that all travelers returning from areas with ongoing ZIKV transmission should adopt safer sex practices or consider abstinence for at least eight weeks after their return; if men have ZIKV-related symptoms, they should adopt safer sex practices or consider abstinence for at least six months.