Zika virus transmission through sexual intercourse is more common than the World Health Organization (WHO) originally believed it to be. Women looking to get pregnant should wait at least eight weeks, the United Nations officials recommend, if they or their partners live in or have visited a Zika-ridden country.
Although mosquito bites are the most common way a person can contract Zika virus, sexual transmission of Zika has been found to be more common than previously believed. The WHO first recommended that women wait at least four weeks before trying to conceive, but the wait period has now been bumped to eight weeks.
Furthermore, if the male partner has signs and symptoms of Zika virus, it is recommended that the couple wait six months before trying to conceive.
Four of five Zika patients will not experience symptoms, and those who do often experience mild symptoms. The real risk is to the fetus, which could be born with birth defects.
To date, Brazil has seen an estimated 5,000 microcephaly cases – a birth defect associated with Zika virus. In the U.S. so far, 280 women have been infected and are being followed by the CDC.
To limit any potential spread of Zika virus via mosquitoes, health officials on the federal, state, and local levels are deploying a three-pronged strategy: improving mosquito control, expanding their ability to test for Zika, and urging the public to protect themselves against mosquitoes.
Women, particularly those in their child-bearing years, should take all necessary measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites, along with avoiding sexual intercourse if they are residing or visiting a country with Zika.
Also, read more updates on Zika Virus.