Males who test positive
A study released by the CDC revealed 95% of males who tested positive for the Zika virus were free of the virus after three months, according to a HealthDay News brief published in February. But CDC guidelines continue to recommend that infected men use condoms or abstain from sex for six months after infection with the Zika virus, according to the article.
“CDC researchers led by Gabriela Paz-Bailey, MD, tracked the levels of the Zika virus in 95 women and 55 men in Puerto Rico,” the brief stated. “All participants had recently been infected. The scientists found little virus in saliva and vaginal secretions, but it lingered in blood serum and urine, sometimes for weeks. By 81 days, the virus had disappeared from semen in 95% of men (95% confidence interval, 64 to 98).”
In the original study published Feb. 14 in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers stated, “the CDC recommends that women who have been infected or exposed to [the Zika virus] wait at least eight weeks from symptom onset or last exposure before attempting conception.”
Effects on babies
The Zika virus in babies can cause damage to brains and bodies with symptoms such as microcephaly, trouble feeding and epilepsy, according to a Nov. 22, 2016, NBC News report by Maggie Fox. Fox wrote that “in the United States, the CDC reports more than 4,200 cases of Zika, nearly all carried by travelers from other areas.”
Fox also stated in the article, “Florida reports more than 200 locally acquired cases, spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquitos that thrive in Florida.”
Zika had been spreading in a 1.5 square mile area between 8th and 28th streets in Miami Beach, according to the NBC report.
The CDC website stated that, “on Dec. 9, 2016, CDC removed the red area designation for the remaining 1.5-square-mile area of South Miami Beach after three mosquito incubation periods (45 days) passed without any new locally transmitted cases of Zika. Guidance for yellow areas now applies to the South Miami Beach area and all of Miami-Dade County.”
Meanwhile, researchers in the NEJM article referred to CDC recommendations that men exposed to the virus should use condoms or abstain from sex for at least six months, and they stated that they “will continue to monitor women of reproductive age to inform evaluations of these recommendations.”
A CDC study from July 2016 is included as part of a 46-page healthcare provider toolkit available online. In the study, researchers recommended that all pregnant women in the country and its territories should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure at prenatal care visits. “CDC recommends that pregnant women not travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission,” CDC researchers wrote. “Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip.”
“In addition,” they wrote, “it is recommended that pregnant women with a sex partner who has traveled to or lives in an area with active Zika virus transmission use condoms or other barrier methods to prevent infection, or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy.”
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