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1st Case of Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Found in Oregon

Saturday, February 27, 2016

 

Oregon Health Authority has reported that the state has its first case of the Zika Virus. the illness was spread from a man who traveled in a Zika-affected country to his female sex partner, who had not traveled. Both later tested positive for Zika.

The Zika Virus

The Zika Virus seldom causes serious illness and four out of five people have no symptoms or very mild ones like a fever, rash or redness of the eyes.

The virus is concerning because of its potential link to serious birth defects in babies born to women infected during pregnancy.

"Though mosquito bites appear to be the most common way Zika is spread, there is increasing evidence for sexual transmission as well. People who have been in Zika-affected areas in the previous two weeks and develop symptoms suggesting Zika should see their health care provider. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises men with pregnant sex partners to use condoms or abstain from sex for the duration of pregnancy," said Richard Leman, MD, an OHA public health physician.

The CDC is investigating over a dozen possible cases of sexual transmission of Zika in the U.S. and has issued guidance.

CDC Issues Guidance for Pregnant and Non-Pregnant Women

Recommendations for pregnant women and men with pregnant sex partners who live in or have traveled to Zika-affected areas:

-- Pregnant women and their male sex partners should discuss the male partner's potential exposures and history of Zika-like illness with the pregnant woman's health care provider. CDC has a list of Zika symptoms on its website at. Providers should consult CDC's guidelines for evaluation and testing of pregnant women, available on the CDC website.

-- Men with a pregnant sex partner who live in or have traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission should abstain from sex or use condoms during sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) for the duration of the pregnancy. Using latex condoms every time reduces the risk of sexual transmission of many infections, including those caused by other viruses.

-- Pregnant women should consider postponing travel to Zika-affected regions. If they choose to go, they should take steps to avoid any contact with mosquitoes.

Recommendations for non-pregnant women, and men with non-pregnant sex partners who live in or have traveled to Zika-affected areas:

-- It is still unclear whether Zika infection during pregnancy is responsible for recently reported birth defects involving brain development. Public health investigators are continuing their efforts to answer this question. In Oregon, public health officials are following these investigations closely and will continue to update their guidance to the public as they learn more.

-- In the meantime, couples in which a man has recently spent time in an area with Zika virus transmission might wish to weigh this potential risk in their decisions about whether to use condoms during sexual activity.

For more information on the Zika virus, click here.

 

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