First Case Of Sexual Transmission Of Zika Virus Reported

Lovers 5Published in LA WEEKLY BY DENNIS ROMERO

Zika’s a particularly evil little virus that could cause microcephaly, a rare neurological condition that causes affected infants to be born with abnormally small heads. This week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced a recent case of sexually transmitted Zika reported  in the Dallas area.

“According to a Dallas County Health Department investigation, a person who recently traveled to an area with Zika virus transmission returned to the United States and developed Zika-like symptoms,” the CDC said in a statement. “The person later tested positive for Zika, along with their sexual partner, who had not traveled to the area.”

That said, reports of sexually transmitted Zika are rare, and experts say the most common form of transmission is via mosquito bites in South America, particularly Brazil, as well as in the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Cape Verde and certain Pacific islands (American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga).

Health officials warned pregnant women to avoid or postpone travel to those areas.

The L.A. County Department of Public Health says pregnant women who have traveled to those regions and who have “symptoms suggestive of Zika virus infection during or within two weeks of travel” should get tested.

“The most important messages concern people who may be traveling to locations in the world where Zika virus outbreaks are currently occurring, and advising them on measures they need to take to protect their own health and prevent bringing the disease back here to Los Angeles County,” the county’s interim health officer, Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, said yesterday.

The CDC says avoiding sexual contact with potential Zika patients probably is wise.

“Based on what we know now, the best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites AND to avoid exposure to semen from someone who has been exposed to Zika virus or has been ill from Zika virus infection,” the CDC says.

There has been one case of Zika reported in L.A. And given our pathways to Latin America, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if there are more. That case, reported in November, involved a girl who had traveled to El Salvador late last year and later recovered.

It sounds like you shouldn’t be too afraid. But you should definitely be aware. For the latest info on the virus, go here.

RUSSIA IS DEVELOPING ZIKA VIRUS VACCINE ON PUTIN’S ORDERS

Zika 2

Original article published in NEWSWEEK BY ON 1/29/16 AT 6:01 PM

Russia is working on a vaccine to combat the Zika virus, even though the country is not at risk of contamination, Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova has told state news agency RIA Novosti.

The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes across the Americas and in areas in Africa near the equator. Symptoms are mild and infections can be sometimes difficult to detect, however it can have severe effects on pregnant women and their babies. The World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern on Thursday, claiming the virus was “spreading explosively” after cases were reported in South America and the U.S..

Russian scientists are currently working on  completing a patent on their first quick diagnosis method for the virus, a patent on which is planned to be completed by March. According to Skvortsova, Russia is working on the vaccine on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s request.

“We know that such an epidemic does not threaten us… We do not have the natural fauna that would carry the infection,” the health minister said.

However, she highlighted that the project is going ahead for two reasons. Firstly, Russia is pursuing the development of “a full inventory of vaccines” and, secondly, it is also planning to ship the vaccine abroad in order to combat the spread of Zika globally.

Recently, Putin also boasted that Russia had developed two treatments to combat the Ebola virus, that devastated west Africa since summer 2014. He described one of the two vaccines as “100 percent effective”, although public tests have not taken place as Russia is not publically known to have had registered cases of Ebola.

http://europe.newsweek.com/russia-developing-zika-virus-vaccine-421136?