Scientists: Zika Virus Might Be Sexually Transmitted

Scientists said that there could be a slim possibility that the Zika virus might be transmitted during sex. However, federal health officials were quick to caution that there is currently insufficient evidence to establish a concrete link between the two factors.

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The aggressive spread of Zika virus has generated worldwide concern. Although it originated from Africa, it has now spread across more than 20 countries, including Brazil who declared it a crisis late last year. It is believed to be transmitted by the Aedes mosquito and has been linked to damaging neurological effects in babies and paralysis in adults. At present, there is no treatment or vaccine for it.

Experts have pointed to two cases within existing medical literature to suggest that the disease might be transmitted through sex. One of them is a Tahiti man, who remains as the only case as of now in which live Zika virus was found in his semen sample. This is despite samples showing that the virus had disappeared from his blood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said these suspect cases are “provocative” but “not really enough to warrant a large public health recommendation.” They anticipate that the spread of the Zika virus is likely to follow that of dengue where it is contained in areas with tropical, humid climates, such as Florida and Hawaii.

Governments in most western countries have issued travel advisories warning pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant to avoid going to affected areas.