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Sexual transmission of Zika virus suspected; safe sex urged especially if partner is pregnant

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Health officials caution that sexual transmission of Zika virus may be possible and strongly advise safe sex throughout pregnancy.

The Department of Health (DOH) is strongly advising those coming from Zika-affected countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Puerto Rico to practice safe sex - that means abstinence or proper use of latex condoms. This advisory comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) told Reuters that they are investigating the possibility of sexual transmission of the Zika virus.

An article reported that this possibility has already been suspected since 2008. That year, an American scientist who returned home from Senegal possibly infected his wife with the Zika virus through intercourse. In 2013, scientists detected the virus in a man's semen even though it was no longer in his blood. Just recently, another case of a patient acquiring the virus through sex was reported in Dallas, Texas.

The link between Zika virus and microcephaly, a condition where baby's brains are smaller than normal, has expecting couples concerned about the outbreak.

READ: The scary new tropical virus that is shrinking babies' brains

The United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a guideline that, for the entire duration of the pregnancy, safe sex should be practiced if the man may have been exposed to the Zika virus.

DOH spokesperson Lyndon Lee Suy further noted that 75% of Zika-infected individuals do not show any symptoms, making it harder to detect. Therefore, it is even more important to exercise caution to prevent the spread of the virus and its potential risks to unborn babies.

READ: The Philippines is preparing for the Zika virus - DOH

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