A woman in Los Angeles County has the first confirmed case of sexually transmitted Zika virus infection in the county. The infection was reported by Los Angeles County health officials last week.
The woman was infected by her partner, who had traveled to Mexico in early November. She had not traveled to Mexico, but obtained the infection from unprotected intercourse with her infected partner. “This case is a reminder to take precautions during sex or avoid sex if you or your partner have traveled to an area with risk of Zika,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Los Angeles County’s interim health officer.
Since 2015, there have been 122 cases of Zika virus infection confirmed in Los Angeles County. Other than this most recent case, all of the others were acquired during travel to other countries. It’s important to note that there are no mosquitoes carrying the virus in Los Angeles county or elsewhere in California. The virus is still actively spreading in many countries throughout the world though.
If Zika virus is contracted during pregnancy, it can cause a severe birth defects in a developing embryo/fetus. These birth defects include, but are not limited to microcephaly (small brain), problems with eye development, leading to vision loss, and problems with joint and muscle development.
Given the severity of the birth defects that can occur, the physicians at Reproductive Partners are advising all patients to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control recommendations regarding Zika virus:
- Women who have had possible Zika virus exposure through travel or sexual contact should wait at least 8 weeks from symptom onset (if symptomatic) or last possible exposure (if asymptomatic) to attempt conception.
- Men with possible Zika virus exposure, regardless of symptom status, should wait at least 6 months from symptom onset (if symptomatic) or last possible exposure (if asymptomatic) before attempting conception.
If you are trying to conceive, it’s important to speak with your physician prior to planning any travel to an area where Zika virus transmission has been reported.