By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. May 3, 2016: New York City’s Bill de Blasio administration has a gift for Puerto Ricans – one million condoms!
The New York City Health Department on Monday announced it will be donating the condoms to assist the economically challenged US territory of Puerto Rico to assist with Zika prevention efforts.
The condoms are expected to be distributed by the Puerto Rico Department of Health throughout the island to allow residents to reduce the spread of Zika through sexual transmission.
The mosquito-borne virus that has taken the Americas by storm has been found to be sexually transmitted and can lead to brain defects in new born babies through the Guillain-Barré syndrome.
The Zika virus can be spread by a man to his sex partners, according to the Centers for Diasease Control (CDC). In known cases of sexual transmission, the men developed Zika virus symptoms. From these cases, the CDC says the virus can be spread when the man has symptoms, before symptoms start and after symptoms resolve and the virus is present in semen longer than in blood.
“New York City has acted aggressively to reduce the overall mosquito population – while increasing Zika detection methods – in our ongoing effort to protect residents as well as visitors to our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “In light of Puerto Rico’s healthcare crisis, we are proud to announce we’ve donated 1 million condoms to our neighbors, and we will continue our campaign focusing on Zika prevention for pregnant women and international travelers. We stand with the Puerto Rican people.”
“We appreciate the New York City Health Department’s donation of one million male condoms to assist with our island’s intensive Zika prevention efforts. Since we know Zika can spread through sexual intercourse, the use of condoms is an important strategy when aiming to put a stop to this virus. New York City’s donation will bolster our efforts to make condoms widely available in our fight to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections, including Zika, and reduce unplanned pregnancies,” said Ana Ríus Armendáriz, M.D., Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
To date, Puerto Rico has 570 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus – more than any other state or territory in the United States, according to the CDC.
The Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).