Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated
its guidelines to help couples who are thinking about
pregnancy after exposure to Zika virus. The virus, which has
been linked to microcephaly — a birth defect which leaves
the child with a significantly smaller head than normal —
typically is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito;
however, it also can be spread from mother to child, and
through sexual contact.
guidelines recommend men who have contracted Zika virus delay
having unprotected sex for at least six months after symptoms.
Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist Dr. Pritish Tosh
adds, "Abstinence from sexual activity is ideal or the
use of barrier protection such as condoms. The reason is that
the virus can live longer in semen than it can in blood.
Because for potential latency of the virus, especially in the
semen, the recommendation from the CDC is that for men who
have had Zika virus symptoms wait at least six months before
engaging in any unprotected sexual activity."
Women who have Zika virus should wait at least eight weeks
after symptom onset to attempt conception.
with Zika virus should wait at least six months after symptom
onset to attempt conception.
and women with possible exposure to Zika, but without clinical
illness consistent with to the virus, should wait at least
eight weeks after exposure to attempt conception.
and women who reside in Zika endemic areas should talk with
their health care provider about attempting conception.
calls the updated guidelines a critical piece of information
that health care providers have been awaiting. He says the new
CDC recommendations give clear evidence-based guidance for
delaying pregnancy after exposure to Zika virus.