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Zika Virus Could Live in Semen Much Longer Than Previously Thought

Erin Schumaker - The Huffington Post
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August 12, 2016

Could Zika Affect Fertility Treatments? (wochit News)

Zika virus could be detectable in men’s semen for twice as long as scientists previously thought, according to two new reports published Thursday in the journal Eurosurveillance, which is part of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Up until this point, health officials have advised men to use condoms or practice abstinence for six months after being infected with Zika virus, based on the assumption that the longest the virus could be detected in semen was 93 days after infection.

Now, one man’s semen has tested positive for Zika virus 188 days after he was infected and a second man’s semen tested positive 181 days after infection. Both men had traveled to Haiti, where there are active Zika transmissions occurring and are still being tested for the virus.

It’s crucial scientists figure out how long Zika virus is detectable in semen, because the virus can be sexually transmitted.

Zika virus in pregnant women has been linked to the severe birth defect microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with smaller than normal heads and can result in developmental disabilities, seizures, feeding problems, learning issues and vision loss. Just this week, scientists added another Zika consequence to that list: arthrogryposis, a condition where infants are born with malformed joints that can’t extend properly.

For now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not changed its Zika safety recommendations, which recommends pregnant couples practice safe vaginal, oral and anal sex, and that men use condoms during sex for six months after traveling to a Zika outbreak area.

Read the rest at The Huffington Post

Related: Why Aedes Aegypti Are So Good at Transmitting the Zika Virus, and Other FAQs (PBS Newshour)

Related: Brazil Launches First Dengue Vaccine Campaign: Drug Maker (Expatica)

Related: Zika Outbreak Timeline: How Our Understanding of the Disease Has Changed (ABC News)

Related: Feds Approve Controversial Plan to Release Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to fight Zika (PBS Newshour)

Related: Study Details Possible Link Between Zika and Severe Joint Condition (Reuters)

Related: Zika's Unrelenting March Across the Americas: 'An Emergency That We Need to Address' (The Los Angeles Times)

Related: How the Zika Virus Is Impacting Summer Travel (KPNX)

Related: UN Zika Solution to Protect Rio Olympians and Children? (eNewsChannels)

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