Fourteen more people may have caught the Zika virus in the U.S. without traveling to affected zones, federal health officials said Tuesday — strong evidence that the virus is sexually transmitted fairly often.
Some of those suspected of having been infected sexually have been pregnant women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
“CDC and state public health departments are now investigating 14 new reports of possible sexual transmission of Zika virus, including several involving pregnant women,” the CDC said in a statement.
“In two of the new suspected sexual transmission events, Zika virus infection has been confirmed in women whose only known risk factor was sexual contact with an ill male partner who had recently traveled to an area with local Zika virus transmission; testing for the male partners is still pending.”
Evidence is growing that Zika can cause serious birth defects, especially microcephaly, which results from a damaged brain that stops developing in the womb.
There are also suspicions that Zika is causing a paralyzing condition called Guillan-Barre syndrome.
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