Posted: February 4, 2016 Contributor: PRJKT RUBY
The Zika Virus – CDC Confirms Sexual Transmission Case
There are some things we wish we could just close our eyes, ignore and have them go away. For pregnant women worldwide, the thought of the Zika virus spreading further is one of those things. Unfortunately, headlines each day confirm the reality of this flourishing virus. It’s currently picking up speed, widening the areas infected and it’s become a true risk that simply can’t be ignored.
When the Zika virus first emerged, it was believed that it was only transmitted through mosquitoes that had bitten an infected person. While the full range of side effects are not yet known in affected adults, children born to infected mothers are facing a wide variety of issues – the most commonly noted condition is microcephaly which is marked by babies bortn with smaller heads and impaired brain development. In addition, the virus has been linked to an increase in cases of a paralysis condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome in Brazil and French Polynesia. This condition typically is one that adults can recover from, but while infected they may notice weakness and paralysis as the immune system begins attacking the nerves in the body.
It’s been suggested that we could still be a decade away from developing immunizations against the virus and currently there is no cure.
The latest news comes from Texas and offers yet another massive concern – the possibility of passing the virus through sexual activity.
While researchers initially didn’t believe this was possible, the CDC has confirmed a case of Zika passing from one partner to the other through sexual intercourse. As a result, the CDC is now recommending that pregnant women (with sexual partners who have traveled or lived in affected areas) protect themselves in order to prevent the virus from spreading. This may include abstaining from any form of sexual contact throughout the duration of the pregnancy or, at the very least, using a condom.
This recent case in Texas marks the first time that the virus has been acquired within the U.S. We currently know that the virus remains in the blood for about a week, however, the time it remains in semen is yet to be determined.
In order to prevent the virus from spreading any more rapidly, the CDC advises that those known to have the virus attempt to avoid any additional bites from mosquitoes that can further spread the infection. Couples can use condoms or abstain from sex when a woman is pregnant to further reduce risk of infection.
Zika has now been confirmed in 29 countries and WHO estimates roughly 3 million to 4 million infections will occur in the next year across the Americas. Those who are currently pregnant are being advised to halt all travel plans to those areas that are currently seeing the virus spread.