Keeping the Zika Virus Out of the Assisted Reproductive Technology Laboratory

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The Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic spreading through South and Central America, as well as several U.S. territories has created worldwide concern as the linkage between ZIKV infection and microcephaly has been established. Both travel associated and sexually transmitted cases have put couples who live in nonendemic areas at risk of falling victim to effects of Zika. The presence of ZIKV within reproductive tissues may pose a significant threat to patients seeking fertility services and to safety of the tissues currently housed in assisted reproductive technology (ART) laboratories. There are still many unanswered questions regarding the mechanism of ZIKV sexual transmission. Just as strict guidelines have been set regarding the screening and handling of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis C virus, and hepatitis B virus-positive patient tissues, similar recommendations are needed to prevent contamination and inadvertent transmission within the ART laboratory.

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