The mosquito-born Zika virus, which is particularly deadly to unborn fetuses, and thought to only be contagious when bitten, has now become a larger problem with a CDC report today Feb. 23 that 14 Americans have contracted the disease through sexual activity. The news is spreading like flies on the Internet and it’s worrisome. CNBC reported that the fourteen people who caught the Zika virus in the U.S. did so without traveling to affected zones providing strong evidence that the virus is sexually transmitted fairly often. Some of those infected sexually have been pregnant women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Zika has already infected millions of people and been upgraded to a global health emergency by WHO. As of yet there are no drugs to cure it or reduce symptoms of fever, nausea, vomiting and aches and pains.
CNBC, CNN, NY Times, eturbonews and other online sources also reported that “In two of the new suspected sexual transmission events, Zika virus infection has been confirmed in women whose only known risk factor was sexual contact with an ill male partner who had recently traveled to an area with local Zika virus transmission; testing for the male partners is still pending.” There was also a report of a woman in Dallas who was inflicted with the virus via sexual contact with a partner who had traveled to one of the infected zones.
Disturbing news also reported by news sources revealed that doctors had known Zika could be spread by sexual transmission. In 2008 a U.S. researcher was infected in Africa and infected his wife back in Colorado. Zika has been found in semen. Zika has become a global problem, especially in Brazil where it has spread rapidly. In addition to warning travelers to tropical zones, where Zika thrives in mosquitos, to apply plenty of strong insect repellent and use other precautions, the CDC is now warning men who go to those areas to used condoms. It has also issued a strong advisory to pregnant women to stay away from countries where Zika is most widespread. To that effect most airlines and cruise companies are waiving canceling fees to pregnant women concerned over the issue.
Zika is passed on by female Aedes mosquitos that extract blood from one person after another, often in the same room much the way other viruses are spread such as yellow fever, dengue, West Nile and chikungunya. The malaria parasite is also spread by mosquitoes. Although these 14 new cases of Zika are reported in the US authorities don’t expect the viruses to spread around the country because Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries it isn’t common except in parts of the far south and Hawaii. However that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take safeguards such as keeping doors and windows closed, not letting puddles of water remain stagnant to attract mosquitos and using insect repellent wherever there are mosquitos.
This just in from eturbonews, a recent survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania showed that half of Americans are concerned that the Zika virus spreading throughout Latin America will reach their neighborhoods indicating a high level of awareness but also confusion and misinformation about the virus, which may be linked to increases in Brazil of microcephaly, a rare neurological condition, and in Latin America of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. While the vast majority of Americans (91 percent) know that mosquitoes transmit the Zika virus to humans, a third of the respondents (35 percent) incorrectly think that genetically modified or transgenic mosquitoes have caused the outbreak of Zika in Brazil. But genetically modified mosquitoes are not responsible for the outbreak, according to SciCheck.