Spring break is at hand in the U.S. Many families, and soon-to-be-families as well, love travelling around this part of the year but experts are warning certain people to stay at home away from popular vacation places.
Zika is spreading rapidly across the world by now. Places such as Mexico, Barbados and Jamaica are in danger of Zika virus and we also know that pregnant women are the most affected ones; but we now know that the Zika virus can also be found, and stay, in semen.
Doctor Cordero, a professor of public health at the University of Georgia mentioned that if a man wants to begin a new family and is ready to be a father, going to ‘Zica-endemic’ areas is definitely not the brightest idea. Cordero was director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2001 to 2006.
Until this day, the CDC is only warning pregnant women due to the effect the Zika virus has on newborn children, a defect called microcephaly.
Cordero, a former assistant U.S surgeon general and others say this is not the proper warning that should be given to the public taking into consideration the evidence that shows that men can transmit the virus to women sexually.
Zika virus in semen: Men should be aware
There’s still a few doubts about the Zika virus being within the semen but it is still a matter of safety that men that are or hope to be fathers soon do not travel. The World Health Organization expect millions of infections in the next months, but nobody is sure whether all men who get infected end up with the virus in their semen and also, once the virus in the semen, nobody knows how long it lasts. One report has shown that the virus stood inside of a man’s semen around 62 days after he got infected.
“We want to learn as much as we can quickly to provide the best information we can to men and women thinking of starting a family,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
The CDC will continue to research how long the virus lasts in the semen but until the CDC gets some solid information they will continue to advise only pregnant women not to travel to Zika-affected areas.
Are condoms safe against Zika?
The CDC is currently advising men to not have sex or use a condom with a pregnant partner, if the partner isn’t pregnant men should not have sex or use a condom instead according to the guidelines. These and travelling advice may be subjected to change as researchers find out more information about this new discovery.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases thinks that if the Zika virus stays more in the semen after a man’s recovery they will have to emphasize the condoms and also he added that if the Zika ends up to be something like Ebola the Zika virus could stay in the semen for around 9 months.
Doctor Cordero said “Given that we know Zika can be transmitted through semen, if we’re telling women to postpone travel, we should be recommending something similar to men,” he said. “It only makes sense.”