The Zika virus can now be considered a sexually transmitted disease with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releasing yet another advisory on how to prevent the further spread of the disease that causes microcephaly to an unborn child.
Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muna also advised people in the CNMI to take extra precaution as the virus is getting to be a major concern, especially its outcome on the unborn child.
She told Saipan Tribune that unlike the flu virus where you can get either by being touched or if you talked to a person who is sick, it was recently discovered that Zika can now be transmitted trough sex.
Microcephaly is a congenital condition that causes an abnormal smallness of the head and brain development. Zika became a widespread epidemic in Brazil where a large number of cases were discovered last year.
CDC, on its website, said a person who is a carrier of the Zika virus can transmit it to his or her sex partners. Sex includes, vaginal, anal, oral, and sharing of sex toys.
CDC, as means of prevention, is recommending that pregnant women who have sex partners that recently traveled to a country with Zika to use condoms or abstain from having sex for the remainder of pregnancy.
Muna added that before a person can get the virus through a mosquito, bite but now it could be also transmitted sexually. The sexual partner of a person who carries the virus could transmit it through intercourse.
“That now is a real concern, that’s why the CDC is trying to address that. Now, it has been confirmed that it can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. It is a major concern for pregnant women, who got infected either through a mosquito bit or sexually,” said Muna.
She added the main concern of the congenital disease is the outcome of a child being carried by a mother who got infected by the Zika virus. “Zika is an infectious disease and it affects the child in the mother’s womb. We’re talking about microcephaly.”
“When you’re pregnant the idea is to protect yourself from mosquito bites. It is all about prevention, wearing of condoms, or abstaining from intercourse and prevent being bitten by mosquitoes,” she said.
The CNMI remains Zika free but CHCC is filing weekly reports and stepped up its awareness and prevention campaign and screening with the Philippines having two confirmed cases and recently the State of Pennsylvania having its first sexually transmitted case of the virus.
That’s why Muna reiterated that it is better to be informed about Zika, adding that more information can be found on CDC’s and other medical websites.