Zika – Now Another Sexually Transmitted Disease To Be Fearful Of

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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, ATLANTA, GA, Feb. 13, 2016: A new sexually transmitted disease is giving people more reason to be fearful especially on this weekend of love – Valentine’s Day, and additional grounds for a woman to insist on condom use every time they have sex.

The Centers For Disease Control says Zika, the mosquito-borne virus transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, can now be transmitted through sex! Sexual transmission of Zika virus from infected women to their sex partners has not been reported but male to female contact has been.

“Sexual transmission of Zika virus is possible, and is of particular concern during pregnancy,” the CDC said Friday, basing their analysis on reports of three cases.

The first was probable sexual transmission of Zika virus from a man to a woman in which sexual contact occurred a few days before the man’s symptoms set in.

The second is a case of sexual transmission currently under investigation by the Dallas County Health and Human Services and the third is a single report of replication-competent Zika virus isolated from semen at least 2 weeks and possibly up to 10 weeks after the illness set in.

The duration of persistence of Zika virus in semen is unknown at this time. After infection, the Zika virus, however, might persist in semen when it is no longer detectable in blood.

The CDC is urging men who reside in or have traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission and who have a pregnant partner should abstain from sexual activity or consistently and correctly use condoms during vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse or fellatio for the duration of the pregnancy. Men who reside in or have traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission who are concerned about sexual transmission of Zika virus might consider abstaining from sexual activity or using condoms consistently and correctly during sex.

The risk for acquiring Zika depends on the duration and extent of exposure to infected mosquitoes and the steps taken to prevent mosquito bites. And while there are tests to detect Zika virus in semen but they are not widely available. So best advice – be safe, not sorry!

Zika can trigger microcephaly in babies. Microcephaly is a condition where a baby is born with a small head or the head stops growing after birth. Microcephaly is usually a rare condition, with one baby in several thousand being born with the birth defect. If this combines with poor brain growth, babies with microcephaly can have developmental disabilities.

What can travelers do to prevent Zika?

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The World Health Organization is warning women who are pregnant to not travel to countries where there is Zika.

 

These include:

Barbados
Bolivia
Brazil
Colombia
Commonwealth of
Puerto Rico, US territory
Costa Rica
Curacao
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
French Guiana
Guadeloupe
Guatemala
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Jamaica
Martinique
Mexico
Nicaragua
Panama
Paraguay
Saint Martin
Suriname
U.S. Virgin Islands
Venezuela

Zika, also known as ZIKV, is spread by the Aedes genus of mosquito, in particular the Aedes aegypti. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites, covering exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and using EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535, and stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms says the Centers for Disease Control.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label. Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children aged 2 months.

If you feel sick and think you may have Zika:

  • Talk to your doctor or nurse if you develop a fever with a rash, joint pain, or red eyes. Tell him or her about your travel.
  • Take medicine, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain. Do not take aspirin, products containing aspirin, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.
  • Get lots of rest and drink plenty of liquids.
  • Prevent additional mosquito bites to avoid spreading the disease.

Symptoms of Zika:

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Dr. Angela Rocha (C), pediatric infectologist at Oswaldo Cruz Hospital, examines Ludmilla Hadassa Dias de Vasconcelos (2 months), who has microcephaly, on January 26, 2016 in Recife, Brazil. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The symptoms of Zika virus are similar to other mosquito-borne infections such as dengue, chikungunya and malaria so laboratory testing is essential for the correct diagnosis. Zika virus is generally mild and self-limiting, lasting 2 to 7 days. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Joint Pain
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Conjunctivitis Or Red Eyes
  • Headache
  • Muscle Pain
  • Eye Pain
  • Pregnant women can pass on the virus to their unborn children and this can lead to serious fetal brain development defects.

Zika Origin

The Zika virus was detected for the first time in a monkey in Uganda in 1947. A year later, it was isolated in an Aedes mosquito from the same region.

The first human cases appeared in the 1970s in Africa (Uganda, Tanzania, Egypt, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Gabon and Senegal) and then in some countries in Asia (India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia).

In 2007, an actual epidemic broke out in Micronesia (Yap Islands in the Pacific Ocean), causing 5,000 infections.

In 2013 and 2014, 55,000 cases of Zika were reported in French Polynesia. The epidemic then spread to other islands in the Pacific, namely New Caledonia, the Cook Islands and Easter Island.

The Zika virus was detected for the first time in the northwest of Brazil in May 2015 and it quickly spread to other regions of the country. Brazil has declared the highest number of Zika cases ever recorded with between 440,000 and 1,300,000 suspected cases reported.