Zika Virus Could Impact Two More Florida Counties
USA health officials say men from three Florida counties shouldn't donate sperm because of the risk of spreading Zika.
Zika is spread primarily by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, but the virus also can be sexually transmitted and remains in semen for months, the CDC said.
Scientists think that Zika is able to survive inside of sperm for around 6 months after contracting the virus. "Testing for tissue donors, including semen donors, is not now available; however, tissue donors are asked travel history questions, and if they have traveled to or live in an area of active Zika virus transmission they would be determined ineligible under current FDA guidance".
Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward are home to 12 different sperm banks.
The CDC said that resident travel between the three counties, and the difficulty of pinpointing where a person may have contracted Zika from a mosquito, makes it very likely that the virus spread well beyond the limited zones in Miami-Dade identified by Florida health officials previous year. According to the report, the list of such areas includes parts of Texas and Florida, and also Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and almost all of Central and South America.
Sperm donations from three counties in Florida might contain the Zika virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, healthcare providers should counsel their pregnant patients who might have been exposed to semen from men potentially infected with Zika virus about this risk.
In addition, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects (e.g., microcephaly) and is associated with other adverse pregnancy outcomes.
The CDC's warning comes after an FDA recommendation that says sperm banks should be sure not to accept any donations from those with Zika, or have recently travelled to regions where it is prevalent.
The increased risk is especially relevant for semen, because of viral persistence in that reproductive tissue, the CDC said.
Last year, 221 people in the continental USA got Zika from mosquitoes, and most of those cases were in the Miami area.
The officials said a recent analysis of Zika cases in Florida found some cases in which Health Department investigators could not determine the exact place infection occurred. The majority came from Miami, although Texas also reported six cases. The residents may have traveled to Miami-Dade, but did not remember doing so "due to daily activities through the tri-county area", she said.
Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long trousers. You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.