A fifth U.S. resident has contracted the Zika virus via sexual intercourse.
The latest infection is located in Los Angeles County; the first for the area. According to the news, her partner has gone to Mexico earlier in the year and showed signs of the infection in late 2017. While she did not go with her on the trip, it wasn’t long after the trip that she was diagnosed.
There were less Zika diagnosis in 2017 than in 2016, but the amount of cases for the disease may actually go unreported. Zika is passed from one person to the next via social contact although most people become infected through mosquito bites.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to date, there have been more than 50 people who have contracted the virus from sexual contact – less than one percent of the 5,500+ diagnoses.
Travelers who have been bitten by while overseas can pass on the virus and the CDC suggests women who have symptoms to wait for eight weeks minimum before they try to get pregnant.
Women are more susceptible to the Zika virus. Because the virus is universal, Zika affects various tissues such as semen and testes, etc. It can also get into the saliva, vaginal tract mucus, etc.
According to the University of New York Lab Director Laura Kramer, the longest detectable case of Zika was 44 days.
The CDC said men exposed to the virus should use protection six months after the exposure. While men can become infected through sexual contact, it’s usually the other way around. If a woman becomes pregnant, she could pass the virus onto the child. This could cause birth defects such as a brain development delays and microcephaly.
Since Zika tends to be asymptomatic, it’s not known how many people actually are infected, which means the transmission could be even higher.
Kramer said it’s unlikely that a Zika epidemic would occur because of sexual transmission, as there is a high level of immunity and a low transmission rate. She said unless the immunity drops, it’s unlikely the virus will become endemic.
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