Background about Zika
It is a mosquito born illness that is transmitted by Aedes species of mosquito. It is also responsible for the transmission of chikungunya viruses and dengue. This species is mostly active at day time so mosquito barrier methods are usually not effective. Two types of species are known to transmit zika virus. They are Aedes Albopictus and Aedes Aegypti. The zika virus was identified in monkeys in Uganda in 1947.
Symptoms of Zika virus
- Muscle pain
Current research on Zika virus
According to the latest researches, there is a link between maternal zika virus and infant microcephaly. The zika virus was found in amniotic fluid samples of at least 2 microcephalic babies. There is no evidence available that the virus can be transmitted through breast milk.
Microcephaly is defined as the smaller head circumference of infants compared to the infants of the same age. It can lead to developmental and speech abnormalities.
Zika and sexual transmission
According to latest reports, Zika can be transmitted from a one person to his or her sex partner. They may not be symptomatic. Zika virus has been detected in breast milk, semen, vaginal fluids and urine. There is no evidence that zika can be transmitted through saliva during kissing. It can be transmitted through oral, vaginal, anal sex and the sharing of sex toys. There is a documented proof that it can be transmitted from female to male sex partners, male to female and male to male. The female to female transmission is not yet reported but biologically plausible. In the USA, 15 cases of zika are confirmed that are infected through sexual contact. An asymptomatic patient can also transmit the zika virus.
Currently, zika is not being offered as an essential preventive routine test to Americans. Zika is not the only one which is found in semen even months after the infection. Studies showed that 429 men infected with Ebola in Liberia showed that 38 men’s semen were tested positive more than 1 year after the initial infection. Recent studies proved the presence of zika in semen upto six months after the infection. Zika virus isn’t always a mild illness. It may lead to serious neurological disorders such as Guillain- Barre Syndrome. The CDC recommends:
- All pregnant women who are living in or traveling to zika virus affected area should use condom or abstain from during their pregnancy.
- Healthcare providers should test all the pregnant women who have been exposed to zika sexually.
- Healthcare officials are also advised to test patients who develop symptoms of zika virus.
Prevention from sexual transmission
- Risk can be reduced if you abstain from sex in infected areas.
- Not sharing sex toys may also reduce the risk of transmission
- Condoms can reduce the chances of transmission
- condoms can be female or female
- Dental dams can be used for oral sex
- Condom should be used from start to finish during sex to be effective