CDC reports new cases of sexual transmission of Zika virus
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week reported six confirmed and probable cases of sexually transmitted Zika from male travelers returning from Zika-endemic areas to female non-travelers.
- The CDC is currently investigating other possible cases in an attempt to solidify medical understanding of the likelihood of sexual transmission, according to Reuters.
- Additionally, a new study of nine US women who had previously traveled to areas with ZIka showed a higher than expected number of birth defects. Two women had miscarriages and another had a baby born with severe microcephaly.
Due to the lack of previous studies on Zika, scientists are still attempting to determine the vectors by which Zika is spread. Initially, Zika was thought to spread almost exclusively through the Aedes mosquito. Now, new evidence from the CDC shows sexual transmission may be a more likely vector than previously thought.
Health authorities continue to work towards solidifying the links between Zika and birth defects such as microcephaly. Evidence of a link seems to be growing, but has not been conclusively established yet.
Last month, the World Heatlh Organization (WHO) warned that the Zika virus will likely spread to almost all countries in the Americas, except for Canada and Chile. The CDC has recently warned pregnant women against traveling to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
With this additional evidence, sexual transmission appears to be a potential vector of the virus and will likely be taken into account for future guidance.