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Public health alert as CDC confirms Zika virus can be sexually transmitted

Mcrocephaly (Image Source: CDC.Gov)

Mcrocephaly (Image Source: CDC.Gov)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a global health emergency regarding the Zika virus. The Zika virus has been linked to a serious condition called microcephaly in babies. The condition results in an unusually small head and other neurological issues. The virus is carried by a mosquito and was prevalent in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has now been detected in the United States in Texas and now most recently in Georgia. The patient in the Georgia case was not pregnant but had travelled to Columbia. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the patient has made a full recovery.

Causing even more concern is confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control that the virus can be sexually transmitted. In a Dallas, Texas case the mother did not travel to an infected region but her sex partner had returned from Venezuela where the virus is prevalent. It is currently unknown how common or rare sexual transmission is or and how long the virus remains in the semen.

According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of the virus are joint pain, fever and rash. About four out of five people who contract the Zika virus show no symptoms. The CDC is advising pregnant women not to travel to areas were the virus is prevalent.