The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), informed on Friday that men who have been exposed to the Zika virus or have suffered its effects should put off procreation for six months.

Government researchers have explained in a new set of published guidelines, that the Zika virus remains active in men’s semen even if the patient didn’t suffer any symptoms, augmenting the possibilities of passing it towards the conceived child. The recently published guidelines have been modified by researchers who continue to investigate the mosquito-born virus, its transmission, and the consequences it has on patients and children. According to the CDC, men who have been exposed to the virus, need to wait at least six months before trying to conceive a child.

Image credit: The New York Times.

The CDC explains that anyone who may have recently traveled to a location in which the Zika virus was active is considered as an “exposed patient.” As well, as those who had sexual relationships, without a condom, with an exposed person.

“Men have to wait at least six months after their symptoms first appeared or last possible Zika virus exposure before attempting conception with their partner,” reads the recently published report by the CDC.

Delaying conception 

Since the Zika virus first started to appear in Latin America and China, researchers from the CDC have been continuously investigating the evolution and development of the virus, and reporting new findings that help to prevent the infection.

Zika is a mosquito-born infection that can be transmitted through mosquito bites, from a mother to her fetus, from sexual relationships and through blood transfusion. People who have been diagnosed with the virus, present symptoms such as fever, rashes, joint pain and conjunctivitis

In the United States, only 59 cases of locally acquired Zika have been reported, but there have been over 3,565 cases of Zika patients who obtained the virus by traveling to exposed areas. According to the CDC, thirty cases of a sexually transmitted virus have been reported in the country.

CDC researchers had previously advised only men that had suffered from the virus to wait six months before conceiving a child and those males exposed to the virus were told to wait only eight weeks. However, after new investigations, all exposed males are advised to put off conception.

Women are told to wait at least eight weeks after their symptoms appeared or after being exposed to the virus to get pregnant or attempt it with their partners. The CDC advises healthcare providers to educate patients on the importance of using a condom when the virus is on the loose.

Researchers also advise men and women who are trying to conceive, to get a laboratory testing of Zika before attempting to procreate. The CDC, explains that recent investigations have concluded that the virus remains active in semen for over 90 days after exposure or symptoms appear.

“To date, Zika virus has been shown to be infectious from semen collected within three months after symptom onset. Given the limited data available and the potential for severe birth defects, CDC recommends men to wait six months before considering pregnancy,” reads the published report.

The virus has been proven to cause congenital disabilities such as microcephaly on babies exposed to the virus while on their mother’s wound.

Source: CDC