Can Zika Spread Through Kissing? Doctors Think It Would Be Almost Impossible
As Zika fears continue to mount across the United States, the fear of catching the virus from someone else is all too real. You can contract Zika from sexual contact, but what about other intimate stuff? For instance, does Zika spread through kissing? Technically, yes, it could.
Now, according to CNN, it's possible to get Zika from a kiss, but we're not talking about a quick peck on the cheek. In order to get into the zone where Zika transmission could be possible, you'd need to get into some full-on tonsil hockey.
"But we're talking about deep kissing, or French kissing, where a lot of saliva is exchanged and the tongue goes into the partner's mouth," Dr. William Schaffner, medical director at the National Foundation for Infectious Disease, told CNN. "It would have to be what I call passionate kissing."
But the Centers for Disease Control says it has doubts about whether Zika can be spread through mouth-to-mouth action.
"There is no evidence at present that Zika can be transmitted through saliva during deep kissing," according to the CDC. "There is documented evidence of sexual transmission of Zika from male-to-female, male-to-male and female-to-male sex partners. Female-to-female sexual transmission has not yet been reported but it is biologically plausible."
But it's important to remember that there is much that is unknown about Zika. And after a couple was confirmed to have transmitted Zika through oral sex, more questions about the possibility of catching Zika from kissing have been raised, according to the New York Times.
But again, Dr. John T. Brooks, a CDC expert studying Zika transmission through sexual contact, said if it was possible to get the disease from kissing, there would likely be far more cases than there are currently. It would also be difficult to track because you'd need to isolate people who engaged in deep kissing but not the actual sex act.
"Casual kissing has got to be safe because, if it weren’t, don’t you think we’d see a lot more Zika?" Dr. Brooks said to the New York Times. "Every mom who kissed her baby would pass it on. To be sure, we’d have to look for deep kissing in the absence of sexual contact, and that’s hard to find."
Zika is especially dangerous for women who are pregnant and their unborn children. Zika has been linked with microcephaly in babies infected in utero.