U.S. Recommends Testing Pregnant Women Returning From Zika Areas

Zika virus is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes and for most people, it will only cause a mild illness.

The country she visited has reported outbreaks of the mosquito-borne virus, which is spreading through South American, Central American and the Caribbean.

The conditions under which Zika can be transmitted sexually are not well-understood.

"This is not a generalized public health measure, for the love of God", he added, stressing both the seriousness of the discovery and reality that it was too soon to say how it could impact the epidemic.

The CDC said men who have traveled to areas vulnerable to Zika should use a condom during sexual activity - and that pregnant women should insist on a condom or abstain from sex altogether when involved with a person who has traveled to such regions.

He also stressed that the Aedes aegpyti mosquito, which spreads dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever as well as Zika, remains the virus' main vector and said the fight against the mosquito should be a top priority. But Garcia said she doesn't want patients to know they're not alone. "This is the first time we've demonstrated that the virus is active [in those fluids], with the potential to cause infection", Fiocruz researcher Myrna Bonaldo said.

Infection with Zika virus during pregnancy has been linked with microcephaly, a serious birth defect where the head and brain are underdeveloped.

The announcement comes weeks after New York City health officials said that a pregnant woman in the city had contracted the disease.

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The virus has also been associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome in individuals who have been infected.

The CDC did, however, issue new guidelines for how pregnant women should protect themselves from getting infected, in the wake of a report out of Dallas this week that Zika had been spread through sexual contact in one case.

They issued a warning to pregnant women in Brazil, telling them to steer clear of kissing strangers in case the virus can be transferred through spit.

"I think that's better advice than telling people not to travel at all", he said, providing the example of how the virus hasn't spread uniformly in any of the affected countries.

But the agency also said people who are not expecting "may consider" taking the same precautions.

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi earlier said it had begun researching a vaccine for Zika, for which there is now no specific treatment.

Of the three cases, one came in 2015, and the other two were confirmed in 2016.



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