Zika & the oncoming marriage season

A total of 22 positive laboratory confirmed cases of Zika virus infection have been detected so far in Jaipur, Rajasthan. And, this number will only rise. On Sunday, the Health Ministry sounded an alert for Bihar after a student of computer science from Siwan, studying in Jaipur, tested positive for the Zika virus. He was in Siwan between August 28 and September 12 to appear for an exam.

Zika virus is gaining foothold in India and is now here to stay. Public awareness about Zika is low and diagnostic facilities are not available everywhere.

In August 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines for preconception counseling and prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus for men with possible Zika virus exposure.

CDC now recommends that men with possible Zika virus exposure who are planning to conceive with their partner wait at least 3 months after symptom onset (if symptomatic) or their last possible Zika virus exposure (if asymptomatic) before engaging in unprotected sex to prevent sexual transmission of Zika virus and also to reduce the risk for fetal Zika virus infection.

Relevant exposure is defined as residence in or travel to an area where mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus infection has been reported, or unprotected sexual contact with a person who meets these criteria.

For couples who are not trying to conceive, CDC recommends that men can consider using condoms or abstaining from sex for at least 3 months after symptom onset (if symptomatic) or their last possible Zika virus exposure (if asymptomatic) to minimize their risk for sexual transmission of Zika virus.

Winter season is on the horizon and so is the marriage season. In India, the marriage season will commence from the end of Chaturmas in November.

All newly-weds should avoid starting a family if one of them has or is recovering from dengue-like illness. Rule out Zika virus infection first.

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