Updated Guidelines for Zika Virus Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated guidelines for Zika virus prevention. Zika virus is a transmittable illness that usually is spread by a specific type of mosquito. Common symptoms include fever, pain, eye symptoms, and rash.

Between February 6 and February 22, 2016, the CDC received reports of 14 cases of Zika virus transmitted through sexual contact. Two of these cases have been confirmed with testing and four are probable. In all cases, the affected women had condomless sex with male partners who had symptoms.

It is important that women of child bearing age protect against sexual transmission of the virus. Zika is linked to congenital microcephaly (abnormally small heads at birth), loss of the fetus, and other adverse effects.

The guidelines had recommended testing of any person exposed to the virus who has signs and symptoms, as well as pregnant women without symptoms who were exposed. The updated guidelines allow health care providers to test any person who has had condomless sex with a male partner who has traveled to an area with Zika virus or had symptoms during travel or within two weeks of return.

Men who live in Zika-affected areas or travel there and have a pregnant partner should not have sex or should consistently and correctly use condoms for the rest of the pregnancy. Pregnant women should discuss their potential risk of exposure with their health care provider.

About the Author

Julie Kaplan, Pharm. D.
Julie Kaplan is a licensed pharmacist in Virginia and the District of Columbia. She received a Bachelor’s of Arts in English from The College of William and Mary and a Doctor of Pharmacy from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has experience in patient communication from working as a retail pharmacist.