Women can transmit Zika through sex, too

Katie Park  NPR

Katie Park NPR

A non-pregnant woman in her 20s returned from an area with Zika virus infection and engaged in sexual activity in New York City, transmitting the virus her partner, according to an investigation by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

A New York City woman infected her male partner with Zika virus through sex, the first time female-to-male transmission of the germ has been documented. Even though most people who get Zika have no symptoms of the disease, the woman was among the minority who exhibited telltale signs of infection.

Zika causes a host of birth defects, especially microcephaly, a condition that stunts the growth of a fetus's brain and the skull to collapse on it.

Of the 1,306 reported Zika cases in the US, all but one involve people who contracted to the virus after traveling to countries where it is endemic, according to CDC figures. Upon returning from the trip, she had condomless sex with a male partner, and the next day, she developed fever, fatigue, rash and other signs of Zika.

The CDC said it is now updating its recommendations for sexually active couples that are not attempting to get pregnant but want to reduce their risk of Zika infection.

Although the zika virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the scientists said large-scale government programmes to target the mosquitoes may not have much impact.

As of July 13, there were 310 cases of Zika virus in New York City. But Brooks said most viruses can travel from both men and women, so the report Friday was "not unexpected". They found that she had an active Zika infection.

The virus is not being contracted locally, as the mosquito-borne illness is not circulating in San Francisco, according to health officials.

The partner said he had not traveled outside the United States during the prior year. It remains unknown whether women can transmit the virus to other women through sexual intercourse or contact. "Ongoing surveillance is needed to determine the risk for transmission of Zika virus from a female to her sexual partners".

The post First female-to-male sexual transmission of Zika reported in New York City appeared first on PBS NewsHour. The test showed Zika in his urine. No cases of Zika transmission through mosquitoes have been reported in the U.S.

The first virus case infecting a San Francisco resident was reported on March 3 and the second case was reported on April 22. After two months of trying to recruit men with Zika, they collected samples from 40 men.

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