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After a team of British researchers found bits of Zika virus lingering in the **** of men whose symptoms had cleared months before, they began to wonder: What other viruses hide out in unsuspecting parts of the body?
At least 27, according to a report published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These include viruses that have been at the center of recent epidemics, like Ebola and Marburg, as well as viruses like mumps and adenovirus, which can cause a version of the common cold.
Question - Definition - STD - Fenyong - Liu
"This really raises the question of what is the definition of an STD," Fenyong Liu, a professor in the division of infectious diseases at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health who was not involved with the new report, told Business Insider.
The viruses appear to take advantage of one of the body's key protective mechanisms, a phenomenon known as immune privilege. Certain parts of the body, like the eyes, are essentially no-fly zones for the immune system's defense armies. They are shielded from inflammation to protect more critical functions like vision. Similarly, it's believed that some reproductive organs may be immune privileged to protect sperm or eggs.
Privilege - Foothold - Virus - Ebola - Marburg
But this immune privilege may also serve as a foothold for a disease-causing virus like Ebola or Marburg, which the new study finds can remain in human **** for surprisingly long stretches of time. Here, the immune system can't touch them.
Typically in the event of a viral outbreak, physicians and public health experts urge people to stay away from anyone who is infected for several weeks, paying particular attention to things like saliva and blood. The new study suggests this may not be enough. In some cases, viruses can persist for as many as 565 days in ****, meaning that an infected person could theoretically remain...
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