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The Zika virus is hard to ignore in the news cycle. Zika is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread through mosquito bites. The CDC has issued a travel alert for areas heavily impacted by Zika, and some countries in South America are even warning women to delay getting pregnant. The primary concern with Zika is its developmental effects on the fetus. Some children born to mothers with Zika are being born with microcephaly. Microcephaly is the result of abnormal brain development, causing severe birth defects and the child’s head to appear smaller than normal.

Men Can Infect Their Partner Through Intercourse

This has led to the primary concern about Zika to be amongst women. However, men should be equally concerned as Zika continues to spread. Men who would like father children are equally at risk of passing Zika on to their partner. For example, if a man is bit by a mosquito and catches Zika, it may be passed on through his semen to the mother, at which point she would pass it on to the fetus in-utero or even a future pregnancy.

It is not yet known how long the men infected with Zika virus are able to pass it on to their partner. However, the CDC recommends that men abstain from sexual intercourse or use condoms for at least six months upon catching Zika to prevent infecting their partner. Men with symptoms of Zika who have not travelled to an infected country are being advised to abstain or use protection for at least 8 weeks as a precaution.

The CDC is currently researching how long Zika is present in semen, and will continue to release their findings as research develops. It is important for men to take extra precautions if they are infected or have symptoms and are sexually active with someone who would like to get pregnant someday.

Man and women alike should take precaution when travelling this summer to areas with travel alerts in place. Dr. Ron S Israeli can answer any other questions men may have about infecting their partner. Contact him today to discuss.