Zika – the New STD

That Zika can be sexually transmitted means it could be the most deadly of STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases). Currently the CDC is investigating women who had sex with men that had traveled to endemic areas. The virus has been found in semen two months after symptoms have disappeared.

As Zika makes its way to the United States, transmission both as an STD and mosquitos will make it a challenge. Finding a vaccine becomes a high priority.

This brings new urgency and a travel advisory to the Olympic Games this summer in Brazil. While women who are considering becoming pregnant are being advised to NOT travel to the games,  the ability of the virus to be sexually transmitted brings a new risk. If their male partners may become infected with the virus they can pass Zika on through sexual transmission even 2 months later. Most of the time the Zika virus infection results in a mild fever, rash, headache, joint pain and non-purulent conjunctivitis (red eye with no pus). Some who become infected with Zika show no symptoms.

Zika Virus Can Affect Men Severely Also

While most are concerned about the birth defect of microcephaly it turns out that both men and women infected with   Zika virus can develop Guillain-Barré syndrome.  Guillain-Barré syndrome causes a creeping paralysis that can lead to need mechanical ventilation and months of rehabilitation. Symptoms start as weakness and tingling in the feet and legs that spread to the upper body. Paralysis can occur.

The potential for Zika becoming a pandemic in the United States is increased by the knowledge that Zika can be transmitted through body fluids. Once a few people develop the infection, it can be then passed on to more people through the mosquitos that are now found in the Southern United States (including Arizona).  This can thus become a serious pandemic.

On the lighter side, can’t you hear the excuse, “Honey, it was a mosquito, honest.”

The mosquito that carries the Zika Virus is now in Arizona, Florida, Texas, and soon to be throughout the US

The mosquito that carries the Zika Virus is now in Arizona, Florida, Texas, and soon to be throughout the US

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.

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