The Zika virus infection, which has turned into an epidemic in South America, can affect anyone including gay couples, a report has found. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published on Thursday included the case of a gay couple in Dallas.
The Dallas health officials in February reported the first case of sexually transmitted Zika virus in the US and the patient was a gay man. The unnamed man contracted the virus after having unprotected anal sex with his partner who returned from Venezuela shortly before.
The man’s tourist partner experienced fever, pink eye, and rash on his upper body a couple of days after he returned from Venezuela. Though his partner recovered within three days, the man developed similar symptoms a week later, the NPR reported.
The couple had been in a relationship for 10 years. They engaged in anal sex the day the traveller returned and again the day after he recovered from his sickness. Since there was nothing unusual in his urine or sperm, they did not use protection. When they went to the doctor, an assistant of the physician collected blood samples of both, suspecting a case of Zika virus. Their urine, saliva and semen were also collected.
The virus couldn’t be detected in the men’s samples initially, but a more thorough test found the partner of the man who travelled infected with it.
There has been much media attention on the effects of the Zika virus in heterosexual couples due to the birth defects it may cause if contracted during pregnancy. This case underlined that the virus can affect anyone, even gay couples who engage in unprotected sex.
“The take-home message is you have to consider any kind of intimate contact between an infected person with Zika and a non-infected person as a potential risk situation, regardless of gender,” the Huffington Post quoted Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, as telling STAT.
The report noted that, while mosquitos are still the primary mode through which the virus is spread, there is more to learn about its transmission.