Donated Sperm in 3 FL Counties May Carry Zika: CDC

CDC Updates Zika Guidance for South Florida

Sperm donated in Florida is at risk of infection from the Zika virus. "Testing for tissue donors, including semen donors, is not now available; however, tissue donors are asked travel history questions, and if they have traveled to or live in an area of active Zika virus transmission they would be determined ineligible under current FDA guidance". CDC says fertility clinics from Miami to West Palm Beach could be affected.

The CDC said that resident travel between the three counties, and the difficulty of pinpointing where a person may have contracted Zika from a mosquito, makes it very likely that the virus spread well beyond the limited zones in Miami-Dade identified by Florida health officials a year ago.

Dr. Denise Jamieson, incident commander of the CDC's Zika emergency response, warned that some individuals in the area therefore "may have not realized they are at risk". And since Zika has been found to persist in semen for up to six months, "there is a small potential risk of Zika virus transmission associated with exposure to semen from male residents in the Florida tri-county area of Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties since June 15, 2016", the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

The recommendation by the CDC for women in those three Florida counties is to exercise extra caution when selecting a sperm donation site; this could mean waiting until the CDC has given the all-clear, or, going to another part of the state for sperm donation in the meantime. So, he said, "if you're a woman who is considering using donated semen samples that have been collected during this period of time, you need to have a conversation with your provider about potential benefits and risks of using it". What brought Zika to the attention of a lot of people was the fact that it can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to the fetus she's carrying and cause a slew of complications: everything from miscarriage to a condition called microcephaly, which may lead to neurological defects.

Of particular concern is Zika's persistence in reproductive tissue, particularly semen.

The U.S.is now readying itself for the likelihood of more Zika cases in the coming months. There are also 21 travel-related infections statewide, including four in Miami-Dade, and two categorized as "undetermined" after state health officials were unable to identify where those cases originated.

Zika virus made headlines previous year all over the world, but in the United States, it became widely associated with several counties in Florida where it ran rampant.

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