The sexual transmission of the Zika virus, responsible for an increasing amount of birth defects in the Americas, is thought to be more common than originally thought, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Zika is mainly spread through mosquito bites, however the U.N health agency has warned that sexual transmission of the virus is thought to be on the rise. Pregnant women with partners who have visited the infected areas are advised to either abstain from sex or practise safe sex during pregnancy. According to The Chicago Tribune, the U.S is investigating more than a dozen people infected with the Zika virus through sexual intercourse.
The Director-General of WHO, Dr Margaret Chan has indicated that investigations and reports have been conducted since the outbreak last month and these reports “strongly suggest that sexual transmission of the virus is more common than previously assumed”,
reports and investigations in several countries strongly suggest that sexual transmission of the virus is more common than previously assumed
According to The Washington Post, WHO have reported more cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome which is a rare condition linked to the Zika virus that causes temporary paralysis and death. Dr Chan has said that nine countries are now reporting increased cases in the syndrome. What is more worrying is that problems linked to Zika aren’t confined to women of child-bearing age but also children, teenagers and older adults.
Speaking at the press conference in Geneva, Dr Chan urged officials not to wait for further scientific proof before making recommendations and described these new findings as “alarming”,
All of this news is alarming
The Zika virus is still spreading to new areas and has now been reported in 31 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. As reported in Yahoo News, WHO still strongly advises pregnant women to refrain from travelling to infected areas and believe that due to sexual transmission being on the rise, we can “expect more cases and further geographical spread”.