Zika News: Sexual Transmission and Blood Donation Delays — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
February 4, 2016

Zika News: Sexual Transmission and Blood Donation Delays

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

The Zika virus continues to hold the spotlight. Here's the latest:

A case of sexually transmitted Zika infection was reported in Dallas on Tuesday. The patient acquired the virus after having sexual contact with a person with Zika symptoms who had traveled to Venezuela, an area with active Zika transmission. In response, the CDC is advising men who've traveled to areas with circulating Zika to "consider wearing condoms," the New York Times reports. In addition, pregnant women should "avoid contact with semen from men recently exposed to the virus."

Elsewhere, the American Red Cross is asking potential blood donors to defer giving blood for 28 days after visiting areas with Zika transmission. Additionally, people who develop Zika symptoms within 14 days of donating blood should contact the Red Cross so their donation can be quarantined. The maximal length of Zika viremia is thought to be less than 28 days, according to the AABB (formerly, the American Association of Blood Banks).

On Wednesday, the CDC added Jamaica and Tonga to the list of areas with active Zika transmission. Women who are pregnant should consider delaying travel areas with active Zika outbreaks.

In Brazil, the number of Zika-linked cases of microcephaly has passed 4000, Reuters reports, and an Associated Press story explains why higher temperatures translate to greater spread of the virus.

Reader Comments (2)

C. Davies Nurse/NP/PA, Cardiology

There seems to be a lot of fear-mongering about this virus. Malformations in babies, now a hint that it's the next HIV. (How It is sexually transmitted in one case is beyond me.) There isn't a shred of evidence that I've seen. Let's just scare the bejesus out of everyone. Irresponsible.

Tina Dobsevage, MD Physician, Internal Medicine, My office

I read an article yesterday saying only about 1/3 of the cases of true microcephaly in Brazil tested positive for Zika virus. Thus the number of truly microcephalic babies is less and the number associated with Zika virus is even lower.

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