The Zika pandemic:  

Two items are new since the last update:

1.  There are now over a dozen documented cases of Zika infection being transmitted by sexual contact in the US.  So Zika as an STD seems to be a real and established route of contagion.

2.  There are doubts being aired about whether Zika causes birth defects.  What we know is that when Zika erupted in Brazil, cases of very small heads in newborns, microcephaly, erupted as well.  Is there a connection?  It is not yet known.  Major investigations to answer this question are underway.

The last update from a couple of weeks ago remains, therefore, very current, and is placed here for your reference once more, some edits to update this post are included:

The Zika virus continues to erupt across the tropical Americas.

A great resource as this epidemic unfolds will always be the CDC at:

Please note that there have been zero (0) cases of the Zika virus caught BY MOSQUITO in any state of the United States.    This is still true at the end of February.

There have been new cases caught by mosquito in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, but none in Florida, Texas, or any other state.

With more cases of sexual transmission of the Zika virus documented, Zika viral infection is more established as a known STD.

Now, how long is a man with Zika virus contagious, via sexual contact?  No one knows, but one semen sample was positive 10 weeks after the man was infected.

It still remains the case that by far the gravest danger posed by the Zika virus may be to developing babies.

But some deaths have been reported from people infected with Zika, so the risk is no longer considered solely born by the fetus.

The bottom line at this time is that if you want to avoid getting infected by the Zika virus, you and your family need to stay out of areas where it is now very active, namely the tropical Americas [Mexico, Central America, Northern half of South America, the Caribbean], Samoa, and the Cape Verde Islands.  Men who travel there should abstain from sexual contact or practice completely safe use of condoms for an indeterminate number of months.  If their wives are or may become pregnant, the precautions must be taken for the duration of the pregnancy.

1.  A virus long dormant in Africa spread to French Polynesia in 2007, and now is exploding across the tropical Americas, the Zika virus.
2.  In adults, the vast majority of infected people either don't get sick at all or have mild symptoms.
3.  Less commonly, adults can get significant pain in muscles and joints.
4.  Adults with the infection can have the neurologic complication of Guillan-Barre syndrome which is typically transient.  Now some have died from the infection.
5.  A very disturbing aspect of the Zika virus is its ability to infect babies of pregnant women and that it might cause damage to brain development.
6.  Adults and children need to weigh the risk of serious infection if they plan to travel to tropical Americas, Samoa, and Cape Verde Islands.  The risk of getting infected is real.  There are neurologic complications and now even death reported.
7.  Pregnant women should know that traveling to tropical Americas, Samoa, and Cape Verde Islands could be catastrophic for their developing baby.
8.  If a woman who even may become pregnant has a partner who has traveled to the  tropical Americas, Samoa, or Cape Verde Islands, she should abstain from sexual contact during the entire pregnancy.

The main point is that no one in Ohio can currently, or is likely ever to, catch Zika virus while in Ohio, except through sexual contact with an infected partner.  Travel to Zika active areas is a very real risk to all.

To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin

*Disclaimer* The comments contained in this electronic source of information do not constitute and are not designed to imply that they constitute any form of individual medical advice. The information provided is purely for informational purposes only and not relevant to any person's particular medical condition or situation. If you have any medical concerns about yourself or your family please contact your physician immediately. In order to provide our patients the best uninfluenced information that science has to offer,we do not accept samples of drugs, advertising tchotchkes, money, food, or any item from outside vendors.

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