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Culture > News

It Might Be Easier to Get the Zika Virus Through Sex Than Previously Thought

The Zika virus, which made headlines a few weeks ago when the virus was first found to be possibly sexually transmitted, might have a higher possibility of being passed through sex than previously thought.

Previously, the virus was thought to be spread almost exclusively by mosquitos, but new cases suggest otherwise.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently has a travel alert out for people wishing to visit the 20 countries where Zika is spreading, and according to CNN, 82 people have returned to the U.S. with Zika after going abroad.

“It’s beginning to look as though Zika can be more readily transmitted sexually than we first anticipated,” Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical School said to the The New York Times.

The CDC is currently reviewing 14 cases of the Zika virus possibly being sexually transmitted, according to the Times. Two of the fourteen women tested positive for it, as well as four women in preliminary lab tests.

NBC reports that the only possible way these women could have contracted Zika is through sexual contact with ill men who had just returned from countries where the virus was being spread. The effects on the men who possibly transmitted it to them are not yet known.

The CDC is urging men who may be infected to abstain from sex with pregnant women or use a barrier method of contraception, like a condom. That’s because the Zika virus is the possible cause of severe birth defects, like microcephaly, which leads to babies being born with underdeveloped heads and brains. Many of these babies die young, according to NBC.

As of now, over 100 people in the US have been diagnosed with the Zika virus, and the CDC says that there is a 1 in 5 chance for someone with the Zika virus to actually get sick.

Kayla is a second year student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she's studying literature and history. She loves working with kids, and has worked at the same summer camp for the past four summers. Someday, she hopes to become a high school English teacher. You can follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kaylaeatskale and find all of her work at www.clippings.me/kaylalayaoen