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Zika Virus Found to be Able to Survive on Hard, Non-porous Surfaces

Researchers have found that the Zika virus is able to survive for at least eight hours on hard, non-porous surfaces.

The Zika virus has wreaked havoc on much of the Southern Hemisphere, and while the jury is still out on some methods to eradicate the virus, it continues to reveal new and unsettling facets of itself to researchers who are studying it.

According to new research presented today at the 2016 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exhibition, the Zika virus is able to live at least eight hours on hard, non-porous surfaces; however, according to a recent press release, “some commonly used disinfectants are extremely effective in killing the virus.” The implications of these findings are important particularly to the healthcare providers and researchers who come in contact with the virus as they treat infected patients and continue to study this emerging disease.

In this recent study, researchers looked at the effects of, “isopropyl alcohol, diluted bleach, quaternary ammonium/alcohol, peracetic acid, and pH 4 or pH 10 solutions, which are commonly used in clinical, laboratory and industrial settings.” With the exception of pH 4 and pH10, all of the solutions were effective at killing the Zika virus in environments without blood. However, when used in environments with blood, which is more likely in real-world settings, the researchers found that bleach and peracetic acid were ineffective at killing the Zika virus, while isopropyl alcohol and quaternary ammonium/alcohol killed the virus in as little as 15 seconds.

Little is known about whether or not the virus can survive on hard, non-porous surfaces for more than eight hours. According to the press release, “the next stage of the research will be to take a more in-depth look at how long Zika survives on hard non-porous surfaces in the heat and how best to inactivate the virus.”

Although the Zika virus is most commonly transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito or through sexual or congenital transmission, researchers are still studying the possibility of transmission through bodily fluids, infected needles, and open wounds. Environmental transmission has yet to be documented; however, at least one case of laboratory-acquired Zika has occurred, according to the press release.