As many as 14 new cases of possible sexual transmission of Zika virus have surfaced. CDC and state public heath departments are investigating these cases, several of which involve pregnant women.
Two of the possible cases involve women who had sexual contact with a male who had traveled to a country where the virus is known to have spread. While the infection has been confirmed in women, testing for men is still pending.
The official website for CDC lists what people should do to prevent the infection. Men with pregnant sex partners who have either traveled to, or live in, a region where the virus has spread should use condoms during sex. The website also notes that they should not engage in sexual activity during the time of the pregnancy. The scope of transmission of infections sexually decreases drastically if latex condoms are used the correct way. In cases of non pregnant women or men with non pregnant sex partners who either live in, or have traveled to, regions where the virus has spread, condoms should be used each time the couple has sex.
Mild symptoms are seen in people infected with the virus. These include fever, joint pain and red eyes; and they last for about a week. However, almost four out of five people infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms. In some cases the virus may last up to a week before symptoms manifest. With this, CDC highly recommends that if one is looking to get pregnant, they should consider being tested.
Washington Post reports that preliminary laboratory tests have confirmed the infection in four other women; however, they are awaiting final confirmation. Eight additional cases are currently being investigated. “We were surprised, given the numbers actively being investigated,” CDC Deputy Director Anne Schuchat said. “We were concerned enough that we thought it was important to share that information. … We are seeing more than we expected to see,” the director added.
Since last year, the virus has spread explosively across most of Latin America and the Caribbean. A possible link between the virus and children born with brain defects and small heads is being studied by health officials in Brazil.
Yahoo News reports that the 82 confirmed Zika cases in the US involved people who traveled to the regions affected by the infection. Announcing the cases, the CDC said, “Like previously reported cases of sexual transmission, these cases involve possible transmission of the virus from men to their sex partners. At this time, there is no evidence that women can transmit Zika virus to their sex partners; however, more research is needed to understand this issue.”