Officials from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned on Monday that sperm donated in three Florida counties since June 15, could be infected with the Zika Virus.
Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration, states that donated semen is frozen and stored for a period of time, but that does not mean the Zika virus becomes inactive. He said the sperm could be stored at tissue banks and then used so people need to be aware of the dangers. He adds that it is important for individuals to have this information so they can be safe by using sperm banks other that the 12 banks in Broward County, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade, reports CBS News.
At first, only the Miami-Dade County facilities were listed in the warnings after a local transmission of the Zika virus was confirmed in a Wynwood neighborhood in July. The Miami area had been declared free of the virus in December.
The CDC has issued a warning for individuals in both Broward and Palm Beach counties to consider themselves as being at a heightened risk of getting the Zika virus. The CDC says the warning is applicable to anyone who traveled between these counties since June of 2016.
The agency says some people have the virus and do not know it. In fact, approximately 80 percent of people who become infected do not exhibit any symptoms. Those who do present symptoms experience fever, red eyes, joint pain, and rash. Symptoms can last a few days to a week. The virus is a great risk to pregnant women or those who are trying to get pregnant. The virus can be passed to the fetus and can cause miscarriage or neurological problems that will affect the child throughout his or her life, reports CNN.
The Zika virus can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. The CDC has advised women who are pregnant or women trying to get pregnant to protect themselves by not having unprotected sex with partners who have been affected by the virus or had traveled to areas with Zika outbreaks.
The CDC has advised women who became pregnant after June 15 in those three counties to talk to their doctors about their increased risks, reports Newsweek. No instances of the Zika virus being spread by donated sperm have been reported.
By Tammy Marie Rose