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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified a potential risk of Zika virus transmission starting on June, 15, 2016, to present in Miami-Dade County, Florida, that also could affect risk for residents of Broward and Palm Beach counties. CDC recently collaborated with the Florida Department of Health to conduct additional analysis of locally acquired Zika cases, including analysis of resident travel patterns between Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. This analysis has led to CDC identifying that since June 15, 2016, there has been a potential increased Zika risk for residents in Broward and Palm Beach counties because of local travel to areas of active transmission in Florida and challenges associated with defining sources of exposure. This increased risk is particularly relevant for semen because of evidence regarding the persistence of Zika virus in this reproductive tissue.
This update aligns the identification of risk related to blood and tissue in the tri-county area with the time period identified in CDC travel guidance for Miami-Dade County as stated in the Health Alert Network (HAN) of Aug. 1, 2016.
This potential increased risk of Zika virus exposure associated with semen may be attributed to:
• Local transmission of Zika virus in Miami-Dade County
• Evidence confirming that Zika virus can persist in semen longer than in other body fluids
• The ongoing concern about Zika virus infections that go undiagnosed because people have mild or no symptoms
• Challenges defining the source and location of Zika virus exposure
• The regular movement of people between and within the three counties
Blood donations throughout the United States are tested for Zika with laboratory testing, resulting in the removal of Zika virus positive collections in multiple states and Puerto Rico. Testing for tissue donors, including semen donors, is not currently 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 encourages women and their partners, in consultation with their healthcare providers, to consider this potential risk when trying to conceive. Additionally, healthcare providers should counsel their pregnant patients who might have been exposed to semen from men potentially infected with Zika virus about this risk. Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause brain abnormalities, microcephaly, and congenital Zika syndrome, a pattern of conditions in the baby that includes brain abnormalities, eye defects, hearing loss, and limb defects.
In collaboration with the Florida Department of Health, CDC has issued guidance to prevent Zika transmission for residents and visitors to the tri-county area.