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Zika's Transmission Through Sex An Alarming Possiblity

Update Date: Jan 26, 2016 10:20 AM EST

An alarming development in the Zika virus outbreak story is the possibility that the virus could spread through sexual contact.

The New York Times reports that two cases of such spread have been documented but sexual contact is not a cause of concern yet as there are not enough number of cases described to warrant a warning. In one of the two cases, the virus was found in semen of a French Polynesian man long after it had disappeared from his blood. The second case shows the possibility of sexual transmission before visible symptoms of the disease appear. Reports of these two cases are likely to spur more research into sexual transmission of the virus.

The report comes amidst efforts by the governments to combating the virus, which is linked to severe nerve-related birth defects in newborns. Besides cautioning pregnant women about mosquito bites, affected nations are also asking couples to defer pregnancy.

According to New York Magazine, El Salvador has suggested its women to put pregnancy plans on hold until end of next year, though there have been no cases of microcephaly, the fetal defect that causes babies to be born with small heads, in that country.

CDC recently issued new set of guidelines for pregnant American women asking them to put off travel plans to affected countries in South and Central America. Pregnant women returning from such trips are being asked to get checked to ensure fetal health. The virus usually causes mild symptoms in adults but is a threat to fetuses. There is no cure or vaccine for the disease.

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