The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating 14 reports in the U.S. of the Zika virus being transmitted through sex, including to pregnant women. All cases involve women in the United States who started developing symptoms after having sex with men who had contracted Zika after traveling to countries where the virus circulates. “We were surprised that there was this number,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, deputy director at the CDC told The New York Times. “If a number of them pan out, that’s much more than I was expecting.” According to the CDC there are some 90 reported cases of Zika in the U.S., mostly in patients who had travelled to Latin America. The virus is usually spread through mosquito bites and reports of sexual transmission of the virus have been extremely rare. If these cases are confirmed, and the virus is transmitted through sex more easily than previously anticipated, this could have major implications in health officials’ approach to controlling the virus. “This suggests that along with virus in the blood, Zika is gaining access to other fluids, including semen,” said Dr. Peter J. Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “Anyone who is pregnant and lives in an area where the Zika virus is circulating will need her male partner to use condoms. In the coming weeks, that may include the U.S. Gulf Coast.”
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