If Zika wasn’t scary enough, now the tropical disease can be transmitted through sex. A Dallas, Texas person was reportedly infected with Zika through intercourse, but health officials have information on how to prevent spreading the disease.
Mosquitos used to be Public Enemy No. 1 when it came to the Zika virus. The insect pest was the primary method of infection for the tropical disease, but no longer. A new case confirms that Zika can, in fact, be spread through sex.
“The patient was infected with the virus after having sexual contact with an ill individual who returned from a country where Zika virus is present,” a Dallas Country Health and Human Services statement announced on Feb. 2, according to Buzzfeed.
With this latest reported development, Zachary Thompson, the director of the DCHHS, said they are “[increasing] our awareness campaign in educating the public about protecting themselves and others.” The director also said that next to abstinence, “condoms are the best prevention method against sexually-transmitted infections.” So be sure you practice safe sex. On top of all the other STIs out there, condoms will likely save people from Zika.
Zika being transmitted through sex is not unprecedented. In 2011, researchers reported that a Colorado scientist had infected his wife with Zika through sex, after he returned from Senegal, according to Buzzfeed. Now that this new case confirms that Zika can be passed from person to person through unprotected sex, the medical community has a new round of questions.
“The real question is how long does the virus stay in semen after an infection?” Nikos Vasilakis, infectious disease expert at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, told BuzzFeed News. “We just don’t know and we need to find out.” Officials also need to find out if the 2016 Rio Olympics will go on. The disease has devastated Brazil, and right now, Russian and Australian authorities have expressed concern for women traveling to the country for the games.
The Zika virus has been linked to brain damages in thousands of Brazilian babies. Unfortunately, it has made its way up to the United States, as two pregnant women in Illinois reportedly contracted the virus. While most people who catch it experienced only mild symptoms — fever, headache, rash and possibly pinkeye – the disease can be very serious for pregnant women. For more information, click here to learn all about the disease.
Are you worried about the Zika virus, HollywoodLifers? Be sure to be protected and safe.