Bad news for Zika keeps on coming

2 minute read

The first case of female-to-male sexual transmission of the Zika virus has been confirmed


The bad news about the Zika virus continues with the first case of female-to-male sexual transmission of the virus being reported in the US.

Up until now, it was thought that the only likely route of sexual transmission of the virus was male-to-female or male-to-male.

The case was reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and prompted that agency to change its guidance for pregnant women in relation to the virus.

Even though no cases of woman-to-woman Zika transmission have yet been reported, the centre now urges female sexual partners of pregnant women to use barrier methods every time they have sex if they live in or have recently returned from an area with active Zika transmission.

The report is considered to constitute proof the virus, which causes microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads, can be transmitted through vaginal fluid.

In the latest case, the woman, who was not pregnant, had recently travelled to an area with an ongoing Zika virus transmission.

“The timing and sequence of events support female-to-male Zika virus transmission through condomless vaginal intercourse,” the CDC said.

Earlier studies have already shown that Zika remains in both urine and saliva long after it resolves in the blood, even though the likelihood of transmission via that route is considered extremely low.

The centre is currently updating recommendations for sexually active people in which the couple is not pregnant or concerned about pregnancy and for people who want to reduce personal risk of Zika infection through sex.

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