Vaginal transmission causes prolonged Zika virus shedding in the vaginal mucosa and delays systemic dissemination Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractZika virus (ZIKV) has emerged as a significant health threat worldwide. Although typically mosquito‐borne, recent evidence suggests that ZIKV is also a sexually transmitted virus. While persistent ZIKV infections in male reproductive tissues have been identified, little is understood regarding the outcomes of primary sexual transmission in females. We investigated how the route of infection affects vaginal ZIKV shedding and dissemination. In two mouse models, vaginal infection resulted in prolonged ZIKV shedding in the vaginal mucosa with delayed systemic infection. Furthermore, heightened vaginal inflammation did not influence ZIKV replication or dissemination, in contrast to previous studies of mosquito‐borne infection. Thus, vaginal infection significantly alters ZIKV infection kinetics and must be considered when developing novel treatments.


  • Balint, Elizabeth
  • Somani, Armaan Amin
  • Giles, Elizabeth C
  • Feng, Emily
  • Vahedi, Fatemeh
  • Ashkar, Ali A

publication date

  • July 2022