CDC warns about sexual transmission of Zika virusNews added by Benefits Pro on February 9, 2016

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By Jack Craver

Amidst increased concerns over the spread of the Zika virus, the Centers for Disease Control recommended that women who travel to areas of the world most affected by the disease get tested upon return to the U.S.

The agency recommended testing even for women who aren’t experiencing symptoms associated with the illness, a revision of guidelines it put out only recently.

In addition, the CDC recommended that, because the disease can be transmitted sexually as well as through mosquito bites, men who have traveled to affected areas should either abstain from sex with a pregnant partner or use condoms.

The first recorded case of Zika detected in the U.S. actually came from a woman in Texas who had had sex with a person who had recently returned from South America.

As is often the case when there is an outbreak of an uncommon disease, such as Ebola or SARS, the Zika outbreak has pitted expert opinion against concerns from the public and politicians, who are worried about being perceived as indifferent or ineffectual.

National and global health organizations want to reduce the disease’s spread without imposing restrictions that are impractical or threaten to severely damage an entire region’s economy.

Considering that 30 million trips are made between the U.S. and Latin America annually, recommending a travel ban for everybody would have negative consequences for the entire western hemisphere.

But last week Senate Democrats urged President Obama to address the disease more aggressively, lest he and his party face backlash similar to their handling of Ebola a year-and-a-half ago.

And health officials in five different Latin American countries have urged women to delay pregnancy –– at least until they figure this thing out. Outside of China, there are few instances of governments asking people to stop reproducing.

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