Officials: Zika spread through sex by man with no symptoms

August 26, 2016 by Mike Stobbe
This 2016 digitally-colorized electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the Zika virus, in red, about 40 nanometers in diameter. On Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, U.S. health officials reported the first case of Zika spread through sex by a man who had no symptoms of the disease. In other cases of sexual transmission, the virus was spread by someone who at some point had symptoms. The Maryland man went to the Dominican Republic, where there is a Zika outbreak. He didn't get sick but his sex partner did and recovered. (Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC via AP)

U.S. health officials on Friday reported the first case of Zika spread through sex by a man with no symptoms of the disease.

In the other 21 U.S. cases of , the virus was spread by someone who at some point had symptoms.

The report details the case of a Maryland man who went to the Dominican Republic, where there is a Zika outbreak. He didn't get sick during the trip or when he returned. But his , who hadn't traveled, did get sick with Zika and recovered.

Zika is mainly spread by mosquitoes. Most infected people don't get sick. It can cause a , with fever, rash and joint pain. But infection during pregnancy can lead to severe brain-related birth defects.

Doctors believe spread from an infected person with no symptoms is extremely rare; it may be that they have smaller amounts of virus in their blood and bodily fluids and are less infectious.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises couples to use condoms for two months after a partner without symptoms has returned from a Zika outbreak area, if the woman is of child-bearing age. For men with symptoms, the CDC advises condoms for at least six months.

The Maryland case is unusual and doesn't warrant a change in that advice, said the CDC's Dr. John T. Brooks.

French researchers in April reported a similar case of a couple without who both tested positive for Zika. But both had visited a Zika area so infection from mosquito bites couldn't be ruled out.

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Online:

Report: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/

Explore further: Woman found to spread Zika through sex for first time

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