The Aedes aegypti mosquito has been getting a lot of press lately for its uncanny ability to spread the now-dreaded Zika virus. What started as a regional outbreak in the Northeastern region of Brazil has turned into a massive epidemic that is threatening the world. Brazilian Doctor Sergio Cortes has been involved in Zika virus research since the first case was reported in Paraiba in April 2015. For the last 11 months, Dr. Cortes has watched Zika move around his country with super-human speed. R7.com did an article on Dr. Cortes and the Zika virus. In that article, Dr. Cortes said more than six million Brazilians could be infected with Zika, but about four million of those people don’t know they have the virus.
When the outbreak first started, Dr. Cortes and his emergency team thought that the bite of the female Aedes aegypti mosquito was the way the Zika virus was spreading. But reports started to come in from cities in Brazil that are located 6,500 feet above sea level, and those cities don’t have a Aedes aegypti mosquito population. After interviewing several infected people in those cities, Dr. Cortes discovered that the virus can be transmitted from one person to another through sexual contact. Women were getting the virus from men that traveled to cities in Brazil where there is a large population of Aedes aegypti mosquitos, according to a post on the Dr. Cortes LinkedIn page.
The Zika virus was spreading to other countries in South America faster than previous virus outbreaks, and the only answer to that rapid spread was human to human transmission. Scientists didn’t have enough proof to confirm the fact that people that shouldn’t be infected because of where they lived were being infected by other humans. And Brazil wasn’t the only country to report Zika infections in cities with no mosquitoes. Several cases of Zika turned up in the United States this winter, and that is extremely unusual. It turns out, all of the U.S. cases were the result of people traveling to infected areas and then giving the virus to their sexual partners.
On his Facebook page, Dr. Cortes said the World Health Organization announced that the transmission of the Zika virus through sex is more common than previously thought. The reality of that discovery is being felt in the United States and in other countries around the world.
According to a Dr. Cortes tweet, Florida has more travel-related cases of the Zika virus than any other state. Florida officials said they have confirmed sexual contact as the transmission vehicle. Other U.S. are also reporting sexually transmitted Zika virus cases, and that prompted the Centers for Disease Control to issue a warning that the U.S. is in for a major Zika virus epidemic this summer.