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Avoid kissing: Pregnant women warned to think twice as Zika concerns intensify

Published:Friday | February 5, 2016 | 2:17 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP):

A Brazilian health official warned pregnant women to think twice before giving a kiss as global measures mounted today against the Zika virus suspected of a link to birth defects.

The United Nations human rights agency called for some nations to loosen strict laws against abortion and US health authorities recommended men who have visited areas with the Zika virus use condoms if they have sex with pregnant women.

Paulo Gadelha, president of the Fiocruz research institute, said at a news conference that scientists have found live samples of the virus in saliva and urine samples, and the possibility it could be spread by the two body fluids requires further study.

He said that calls for special precaution to be taken with pregnant women, and suggested they avoid kissing people other than a regular partner or sharing cutlery, glasses and plates with people who have symptoms of the virus.

"This is not a generalised public health measure, for the love of God," he added.

Brazil plunged into Carnival season on Friday – a time when people commonly kiss strangers they meet at massive street parties.

Scientists at the Fiocruz institute say they're trying to determine if the body fluids can spread Zika to new patients.