The CDC released a statement from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the first reported case of female to male transmission of Zika virus. The case was picked up by the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). A non-pregnant female engaged in condom-less vaginal intercourse shortly after her return from an endemic region. The male partner developed symptoms approximately one week later.
Previously, it was unclear whether females could pass on the virus to their male partners, however the reverse can happen. Many people in the infectious disease community however, had anticipated that it would only be a matter of time before female to male transmission would occur. As it is currently unclear how long the virus remains in the genital tract or urine, the CDC has long recommended abstaining from sex or using condoms correctly in any form of sexual contact with individuals who may have been exposed.
While the funding for Zika has been drying up, congress has been characteristically unhelpful in providing the much needed monetary aid to fight the spread of the virus. In the latest in a long series of failed bills, congress attempted to pass a $1.1 billion dollar funding bill to help the CDC in this battle. The problem? The GOP added in legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, parts of the Affordable Care Act and reverse a ban on flying Confederate flags in military cemeteries. Effectively turning this aid bill to poison.
When this bill was blocked by the Democrats, senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell hypocritically stated, “It’s time for our friends to start worrying less about pleasing outside political groups and start worrying more about actually helping the Americans who are counting on us.”
Now with congress going on recess until the fall, funds are stretched thin and there are no more resources coming to control the spread of Zika in the US. Only time will tell the public health ramifications of this massive political failure.