New cases of Zika add to the mystery


The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has said it is investigating 14 new reports of possible sexual transmission of the Zika virus.

The new reported cases “suggest sexual transmission may be a more likely means of transmission for Zika virus than previously considered”, the CDC said. The outbreak prompted the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency and the CDC to issue travel alerts for pregnant women.
Several of the possible cases of sexual transmission that the CDC is now investigating involve pregnant women, the agency said.
Brazil is mounting a new attack against the risky Zika virus with plans to sterilize male mosquitoes with gamma radiation, according to the Guardian.
US and Brazilian health workers knocked on doors in the poorest neighborhoods of one of Brazil’s poorest states Tuesday in a bid to enroll mothers in a study aimed at determining whether the Zika virus is really causing a surge in birth defects.
Travelers were men and reported symptoms within two weeks before their non-traveling female partners’ symptoms began.
In addition to cleanup and treatment efforts, the county is spreading the work on how residents can protect themselves from mosquito borne illness. The virus is infecting millions of people who have never had it before and it’s giving doctors a chance to use modern tests and techniques to see how new infections move across a population.
The virus is suspected to have played a role in a spike of birth defects in Brazil.
Zika virus is mainly spread by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that transmit Zika virus are daytime biters, so it is important to apply prevention measures throughout the day as well as during the evening hours.
The agency said there’s no evidence that women can spread the virus to their sex partners, but more research is needed. He added that the money would also go toward more support for Puerto Rico and territories where there are confirmed cases, and to help pay for mosquito-control programs in southern states, such as Florida and Texas, at risk for the Zika virus. “But pregnant women, we believe, are at a very substantial risk of complications”.
The Zika virus is mostly spread by the same kind of mosquito that transmits other tropical diseases, including dengue and chikungunya. “There is no vaccine against it, they are being told to use protection and avoid getting pregnant for at least 2 years”.
A list of areas with Zika virus transmission can be found on the CDC’s website and includes areas in the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Pacific Islands and South America.