The new study done by scientists including one with Indian origin concluded that eyes can be the source of spread of Zika virus. The experiment conducted on infected mice showed evidence of virus in the eyes and tears which raised the possibility of infection to be spread through tears.
Zika, a disease caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedesmosquitos is mild in adults yet can cause brain damage whereas, it is fatal for foetuses.
It is estimated that about 1/3rd foetus infected by Zika are born with severe eye disorders such as inflammation of the optic nerve, retinal damage or blindness after birth.
The virus effects adults by causing fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis and in a critical condition it lead to uveitis, state in which vision can permanently lost.
The researchers infected old mice under skin so that they can determine the effect of virus later, they found infectious virus in the eyes of mice. The examination witness that virus is able to travel to the eyes.
The path of Zika to the eyes is yet not completely established. Infection in the eyes raises possibility of virus to get communicated to people through the tears of infected person.
The experiment revealed that tear of mouse had Zika’s-RNA – the genetic material from the virus – but not infectious virus, when tested 28 days after infection.
Researcher Jonathan J Miner from Washington University; “Even though we didn’t find live virus in mouse tears, that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be infectious in humans,” he stated.
As immune system is weaker in eyes other than any part of body, so damage can exist in eyes even its healed from other part of body.
Even if Zika will turn out non-spreadable in human, this revelation can prove as an effective method as tears can be a less painful way to be tested for viral RNA or antibodies than to diagnose infectious virus through drawing blood.
The research appears in the journal Cell Reports.