Today, the CDC revealed that the highly-reported case of a patient transmitting the Zika virus to his partner back in January was between two gay men. It is the second documented case of Zika being sexually transmitted and the first documented case of a tranmission occurring between two men, the CDC reveals in their "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report." Zika is usually first contracted by Aedes mosquitoe bites and symptoms include fever, rash, joint pains, and red eyes; it may also cause birth defects.
"The Dallas case involved a man who had been infected with the virus while traveling in Venezuela. Two days after he returned home, his symptoms developed. A week after his return, his longtime partner, who had not traveled outside the country, became ill."
"The take-home message is you have to consider any kind of intimate contact between an infected person with Zika and a non-infected person as a potential risk situation, regardless of gender," said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota."
However, researchers do not believe Zika can be transmitted through saliva, so kissing is still safe. Dr. John Brooks, from the CDC's division of HIV/AIDS prevention, told STAT: "Were saliva an important mode of transmission, my expectation would be that we would have seen the epidemiology of cases evolve differently," he said. "We're just not getting a signal."
Health officials are still struggling to figure out the Zika virus and how to deal with it. Officials are spilt on if they should advise women in the regions to avoid getting pregnant. Within the U.S., Zika is current circulating in Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. Cases are expected to grow this summer and the potential pregnancy warning could also encompass Hawaii and the Gulf states.
As of now, there have been 358 confirmed cases of the Zika Virus in the U.S.--Florida leading the count with 87 confirmed cases.