On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that a female patient in New York City had passed on the Zika virus to her male partner during unprotected sex.

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Mashable reports that though the CDC knew the virus could be found in semen for up to two months after symptoms of the disease are gone, they had no idea how a woman might be able to transmit Zika through sexual contact:

“Although no cases of woman-to-woman Zika transmission have been reported, these recommendations now also apply to female sex partners of pregnant women,” the CDC said in a statement on Friday.

“[The] CDC is currently updating recommendations for sexually active people in which the couple is not pregnant or concerned about pregnancy and for people who want to reduce personal risk of Zika infection through sex.”

The CDC recommendations on transmission through sexual contact currently read:

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Zika virus can be spread by a man to his sex partners.

In known cases of sexual transmission, the men developed Zika virus symptoms. From these cases, we know the virus can be spread when the man has symptoms, before symptoms start and after symptoms resolve.

In one case, the virus was spread a few days before symptoms developed.

The virus is present in semen longer than in blood.

There have been few studies on how women can transmit the disease, and now scientists must move quickly to close the gap in research.


Image via AP.