Man may have caught Zika from his father’s tears, researchers say

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Zika cases have all been from mosquito bites and sexual contact– until now.

Doctors believe a Utah man contracted the virus from exposure to his father’s infected tears, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers say the man got sick five days after visiting his father in the hospital, who was infected with the Zika virus during a trip to Mexico. After none of the doctors or nurses came down with the virus, researchers tried to find out how the man was exposed. He later admitted to wiping his father’s eyes without gloves while helping the nurses care for him.

But researchers say this doesn’t reveal a new way Zika can be transmitted, but rather it’s a rare case caused by the extremely high level of virus present in the man’s father: around 100,000 times the normal amount. They didn’t say how the virus level got so high.

“There’s no risk of shaking hands with a person who has a typical Zika infection,” said Dr. Sankar Swaminathan, chief of the infectious diseases division at University of Utah Health Care.