Zika Virus Can be spread through Any Sexual Contact

By Original author: US Department of Agriculture; then denoised rescaled, enhanced with adaptive denoising filters and minimal r

Health officials in the United States updated their Zika virus guidelines, stating a pregnant woman could contract it from a sexual partner of either gender. The Zika virus can cause serious birth defects including microcephaly, when an infant is born with abnormally small head and brain.

Update

The newest update follows last week’s revelation of the first recorded female-to-male transmission of the virus during sex. While mosquitoes are by far the most common method of transmission, cases of sexual transmission can happen, either male-to-female or female-to-female.

For these reasons, experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state the new guidelines “include the possibility of sexual transmission from an infected woman.”

The agency stated, “CDC recommends all pregnant women with sex partners (male or female), who live in or traveled to an area with Zika, use condoms during sex or abstain from sex for the remainder of their pregnancy.”

The CDC said, “Sex includes vaginal, anal and oral sex, and may also include the sharing of sex toys.”
These warnings now include straight or lesbian couples, where one partner could pass the virus onto her pregnant partner.

Any pregnant woman who thinks she might have been exposed to Zika, either through sexual contact or a mosquito bite, should also be tested for the virus, the agency stressed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also pointed out that “new information has indicated that some infected pregnant women can have evidence of Zika virus in their blood for longer than the previously recommended seven-day window.”

Because of this new information, the agency now recommends the time frame for blood testing for the virus be expanded to fourteen days.

The large majority of Zika infection and associated microcephaly have happened in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, where there have been thousands of cases reported.

Zika may now be making its way into North America. In late June 2016, Florida health officials said they were currently investigating a second possible case of locally transmitted Zika infection.

The first possible case of local infection in the United States was reported in July 2016 and the case involved a woman in Miami-Dade County. The newest case involved a resident from Broward County, which is North of Miami.

Florida health officials are currently catching mosquitoes in the neighborhoods where the two people live. Florida Gov. Rick Scott requested assistance from the U.S. CDC, according to the Miami Herald.

Conclusion:

The CDC expects to see cases of local transmission of the Zika virus in southern states that have a warm, humid climate such as Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

Typically, the Zika virus doesn’t cause any serious illnesses, only about 20 percent of people notice the symptoms.

The CDC advises pregnant women to not travel to areas where Zika transmission is ongoing and to use insect repellant, wear long pants and long sleeved shirts while outdoors in known Zika areas.


 
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