CDC: Zika 'may have been sexually-transmitted' in 14 new cases
Feb 24, Washington: US health officials are investigating in 14 new Zika virus infections whether virus may have been transmitted through sex. It is raising questions about the role of sex in spreading a disease that has been linked to birth defects in Brazil, reports said.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned on Tuesday that several of the cases involved pregnant women.
The CDC said that in two of the suspected cases, the infection has been confirmed in women whose only known risk factor was sexual contact with
an ill male partner who had recently traveled to an area where the virus was present.
Most experts had believed that sexual transmission of the illness was rare, but the new alert suggests sexual transmission of Zika may be more of a factor than previously thought, reports said.
Dr. Peter Hotez, endowed chairman of Tropical Pediatrics at Texas Children's Hospital, told that it was a significant development for a virus mostly transmitted by mosquitoes, Al Jazeera reported.
Dr. Hotez said, "These are all men in the early stages of infection, meaning that they have the ability to transmit the virus in the first two weeks of it to their wives or partners."
All of the newly-reported cases of sexual transmission have been in the US.
In a recent study, British researchers reported evidence of Zika in the semen of a 68-year-old as long as 62 days after he was infected.
Zika infection generally causes mild symptoms, but it may be linked to thousands of cases of birth defects in Brazil known as microcephaly, which is marked by undersized heads and underdeveloped brains.
There is no cure or treatment for Zika infection.
The Oslo Times