Zika virus has arrived in the Americas with a force in 2015 as 13 countries or territories have now seen autochthonous transmission and in Brazil alone, an estimated 1,000,000+ cases reported there.


Zika has definitely grabbed the attention of not only people who follow infectious disease news like myself, but I see mainstream media now giving Zika it’s due attention (the dramatic microcephaly increase in Brazil has also contributed to everyone’s attention as the total suspected cases near 3,000).

Before Zika arriving on our doorsteps, it was occasionally an issue in Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands, few people thought twice about the mosquito borne virus. Fortunately, there were some researchers looking at the virus spread by the Aedes mosquito and at least two studies suggest probable sexual transmission of Zika.

Both studies published in the journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, one in 2011 and one earlier this year have now caught my attention.

The 2011 study entitled, Probable Non–Vector-borne Transmission of Zika Virus, Colorado, USA, notes the following:

Clinical and serologic evidence indicate that 2 American scientists contracted Zika virus infections while working in Senegal in 2008. One of the scientists transmitted this arbovirus to his wife after his return home. Direct contact is implicated as the transmission route, most likely as a sexually transmitted infection.

The more recent study published in Feb. 2015, Potential Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus, it notes:

In December 2013, during a Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in French Polynesia, a patient in Tahiti sought treatment for hematospermia, and ZIKV was isolated from his semen. ZIKV transmission by sexual intercourse has been previously suspected. This observation supports the possibility that ZIKV could be transmitted sexually.

Just another factor to consider as this virus sweeps through the Western hemisphere.


Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

Follow @bactiman63