Non-vector-borne transmission of Zika virus: A systematic review

Franca Grischott, Milo Puhan, Christoph Hatz, Patricia Schlagenhauf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Background: Increasing numbers of confirmed cases of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection resulting from non-mosquito-borne transmission have been reported. Methods: We performed a systematic literature review (PRISMA guidelines) on intrauterine, intrapartum, sexual and animal bite ZIKV transmission. The presence of the virus in breast milk, urine, saliva and blood transfusions was also reviewed. Results: The search resulted in 285 papers of possible relevance, of which we included 53 in the systematic review. Mother-to-child transmission was most frequently described with adverse infant outcomes including microcephaly, intracranial calcification and fetal death. Zika virus RNA has been detected in amniotic fluid, breast milk, seminal fluid, saliva, urine and blood. Semen and blood products have proved to be infectious. Male-to-female and male-to-male ZIKV transmission is documented. There are contradictory results concerning the infectiousness of breast milk and urine and data on saliva, animal bites, transplantation, needlestick injury and laboratory work are inconclusive. Conclusions: Our systematic analysis shows that non-vector-borne ZIKV transmission plays a role in the spread of ZIKV and has great societal impact. It has important public health implications for the prevention and control of ZIKV globally and will be a basis for policy and further research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTravel Medicine and Infectious Disease
StateAccepted/In press - May 27 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Microcephaly
  • Non-vector-borne transmission
  • Sexual transmission
  • Transfusion
  • Zika virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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