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Presence Of Zika Virus In Sperm Donated By Men In Florida Region Suspected

First Posted: Mar 16, 2017 04:10 AM EDT
Presence Of Zika Virus In Sperm
CDC recommended to halt sperm donations.
(Photo : BuzzFeedBlue/YouTube screenshot)

Last year's outbreak of Zika virus in the Miami region of Florida raised severe concerns regarding the long-term impact of the disease on men, women, children and unborn fetuses. A recent study revealed that the Zika virus present in donated sperms can remain active up to three months, even after being exposed to cold storage conditions.

In lieu of this recent finding, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a caution alert that sperms donated after June 15, 2016, especially in the three Zika prone counties of Florida viz. Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward, may contain Zika virus. The severity of this issue lies in the fact that using the infected sperm samples to become pregnant may cause lifelong neurological deformities in the child.

Furthermore, it was observed that even the sperm donors themselves are unaware of the fact that whether or not they are carrying the virus and unlike blood samples, the donated sperm samples seldom get screened for the presence of viral infections. Considering all these risk factors, the CDC has asked sperm banks in these three counties to stop accepting donated sperm samples until further notification, Miami Herald reported.

In addition, experts are advising women, who are either pregnant or trying to be, to restrain from unprotected sex with men who live or have recently traveled to these three counties. Dr. Denise Jamieson, member of the CDC's Zika response team, is of the opinion that women residing in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties who have became pregnant after June 15, 2016 should consult their physician and get tested for Zika as soon as possible, according to CNN.

Further investigations have also revealed that people living in the Miami region often travel in between these counties as well as to other regions of the state. They are often ignorant of the potential risk of contracting and communicating the Zika infection. Though the Florida Department of Health is keeping a close watch on the freshly diagnosed Zika virus infection, the same cannot be said for tracking the spread of the virus via infected donated sperm samples. Therefore, the CDC's intervention in the issue and suspending sperm donation activities is an appreciable effort.

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