Sperm Donations In Florida Could Be Infected With Zika, CDC Says

  • Sperm Donations In Florida Could Be Infected With Zika, CDC Says

Sperm Donations In Florida Could Be Infected With Zika, CDC Says

South Florida men should not donate sperm because they are at greater risk of spreading Zika, federal health officials said this week - advice that already had been in place for Miami-Dade, the only county in Florida with a sustained outbreak of the virus a year ago. Testing for tissue donors, including semen donors, is not now 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. It can also be spread through sex. "Testing for tissue donors, including semen donors, is not now 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". So the guidance was extended Monday to two counties north of Miami-Broward and Palm Beach. Previously, the CDC had thought only sperm collected from Miami-Dade County might contain the virus. But infections were reported in people in South Florida who said they hadn't been in that county.

A more in-depth analysis of locally acquired Zika cases in Florida led the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today to warn of a potentially increased risk to residents of Broward and Palm Beach counties, especially as it relates to donated semen, which can harbor the virus for as long as 3 months.

According to CDC, they issued the warning only out of caution, with no reports of Zika transmission via donated sperm already reported.

There is no evidence of a pregnant woman being infected by Zika through a sperm donation, and such a risk is considered low, CDC officials said. If Zika ends up infecting a fetus, researchers believe it will cause microcephaly, a condition where a baby is born having abnormal brain development and a small-sized head.

"It does not necessarily inactivate Zika, so it could be stored in tissue banks, used subsequently and people should be made aware", explained Dr. Peter W. Marks of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at a media briefing. She said officials suspect the local infections occurred in Miami-Dade.

The last case of mosquito transmission of Zika in Florida was in December.

There are 12 sperm donor banks in the three south Florida counties, CDC officials said.

Ongoing probe also found that residents of the three counties frequently travel between the areas and possibly may not realize they could be infected.