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Zika In South Florida Sperm Donors Raises Concerns

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CDC Telebriefing: Zika update

Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 13, 2017
Contact: CDC Media Relations


CDC and FDA provide an update on potential increased risk of Zika virus in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.


Denise J. Jamieson, M.D.
Incident Commander, CDC Zika Emergency Response
Chief, Women's Health and Fertility Branch, Division of Reproductive Health, CDC                      

Peter W. Marks, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research
Food and Drug Administration

Matthew J. Kuehnert, M.D.
Blood Safety Task Force Lead, CDC Zika Emergency Response
Director, Office of Blood, Organ, and Other Tissue Safety, CDC


Monday, March 13, at 3 p.m. ET

Dial In

Media: 800-857-1778
Non-Media: 888-606-8410
International: 1-630-395-0284

Important Instructions 

If you would like to ask a question during the call, press *1 on your touchtone phone. Press *2 to withdraw your question. 

You may queue up at any time. You will hear a tone to indicate your question is pending.

A transcript of this media availability will be available following the briefing at CDC’s web site: www.cdc.gov/media.



Edited by niman

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CDC identifies potential risk of Zika virus transmission since June 15, 2016, in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 13, 2017
Contact: Media Relations,
(404) 639-3286

CDC has identified a potential risk of Zika virus transmission starting on June, 15, 2016, to present in Miami-Dade County, Florida, that also could affect risk for residents of Broward and Palm Beach counties. CDC recently collaborated with the Florida Department of Health to conduct additional analysis of locally acquired Zika cases, including analysis of resident travel patterns between Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties. This analysis has led to CDC identifying that since June 15, 2016, there has been a potential increased Zika risk for residents in Broward and Palm Beach counties because of local travel to areas of active transmission in Florida and challenges associated with defining sources of exposure. This increased risk is particularly relevant for semen because of evidence regarding the persistence of Zika virus in this reproductive tissue. 

This update aligns the identification of risk related to blood and tissue in the tri-county area with the time period identified in CDC travel guidance for Miami-Dade County as stated in the Health Alert Network (HAN) of August 1, 2016.

This potential increased risk of Zika virus exposure associated with semen may be attributed to:

  • Local transmission of Zika virus in Miami-Dade County
  • Evidence confirming that Zika virus can persist in semen longer than in other body fluids
  • The ongoing concern about Zika virus infections that go undiagnosed because people have mild or no symptoms
  • Challenges defining the source and location of Zika virus exposure
  • The regular movement of people between and within the three counties

Blood donations throughout the United States are tested for Zika with laboratory testing, resulting in the removal of Zika virus positive collections in multiple states and Puerto Rico. Testing for tissue donors, including semen donors, is not currently 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.

CDC encourages women and their partners, in consultation with their healthcare providers, to consider this potential risk when trying to conceive. Additionally, healthcare providers should counsel their pregnant patients who might have been exposed to semen from men potentially infected with Zika virus about this risk. Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause brain abnormalities, microcephaly, and congenital Zika syndrome, a pattern of conditions in the baby that includes brain abnormalities, eye defects, hearing loss, and limb defects.

In collaboration with the Florida Department of Health, CDC has issued guidance to prevent Zika transmission for residents and visitors to the tri-county area.



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Zika risk went beyond Florida's Miami-Dade County: U.S. officials


Local transmission of the Zika virus in Florida may have occurred as early as June 15 of last year and likely infected people who lived not only in Miami-Dade County, but in two nearby counties, U.S. health officials said on Monday.

The warning means that some men who donated semen to sperm banks in the area may not have been aware that they were at risk of infection, and may have donated sperm infected with the Zika virus, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration told reporters in a telephone briefing.

The information is concerning because Zika has been shown to cause birth defects in women who become infected while pregnant. Previously, the CDC had warned of the risk of Zika in Miami-Dade County, beginning on July 29.

But the new warning dials that risk back to June 15, and adds in both Broward and Palm Beach Counties.


(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Sandra Maler)






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Mar 13, 5:07 PM EDT



NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. health officials say men from three Florida counties shouldn't donate sperm because of the risk of spreading Zika.

The guidance had previously applied to Miami-Dade County, the only place in Florida where there's evidence the virus was spread by mosquitoes. But infections were reported in people in South Florida who said they hadn't been in that county. So the guidance was extended Monday to two counties north of Miami - Broward and Palm Beach.

The advice applies to men who lived or traveled in those counties since June 15.

Zika is mainly spread by mosquito bites. It can also be spread through sex. The virus can remain in semen for months.

Most infected people don't get sick. But infection during pregnancy can lead to birth defects.


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Posted (edited)

CDC warns women about Zika-infected semen


Local transmission of the Zika virus in Florida may have occurred as early as June 15 of last year.USA TODAY


MIAMI — Women beware: if you're looking for a sperm donor, make sure you know where he's from.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday issued a warning that more people in South Florida's tri-county area — which includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties — may have been exposed to the Zika virus than previously thought. And since the virus can remain in semen for up to three months, CDC officials said women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant from donated sperm should consult with their doctors.

The officials said they have not recorded a single case of a woman or her fetus contracting Zika through donated sperm or through a blood transfusion - blood donations can be screened for Zika, sperm donations cannot. But the CDC officials said their continuing Zika studies found that more people throughout South Florida may have been exposed to the virus, since so many local residents cross county lines on a daily basis.

Denise Jamieson, incident commander for the CDC's Zika emergency response, said that means there could be plenty of men who made contributions to the area's 12 sperm banks who had no idea they were exposed to the virus.

"Some of the semen that was collected and stored may still be at risk for transmitting Zika," Jamieson said. "Some people in the area may not realize that they were at risk."

Zika became a nightmare for Miami last year when the city earned the dubious distinction of the first in the U.S. to experience active transmission of the virus, which can cause devastating birth defects in babies born to women infected while pregnant. The Florida Department of Health estimates that 279 people acquired the virus in the state in 2016, most of them in Miami-Dade County.

The virus, which originated in Brazil and is transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito, has also been detected in people in 49 U.S. states, mostly from Americans who contract the virus when traveling to countries where the virus is more prevalent. Florida leads the way with 1,095 travel-related cases, followed by New York with 1,009 cases and California with 431, according to CDC data. The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has seen far more cases, with 36,967 people infected.

Read more:

The CDC had previously issued travel warnings for sections of Miami-Dade County where local transmissions were active. Those warnings were lifted as mosquito season died down in late 2016. The last confirmed case of locally-transmitted Zika occurred on Dec. 21.

But with winter coming to an end and mosquito season right around the corner, health officials are preparing to battle more Zika cases this summer. So many people living in the U.S. have already contracted the virus that former CDC Director Thomas Frieden warned last year that the virus was "not controllable" with current technologies.

On Monday, Jamieson gave a more optimistic assessment, saying that the virus is "not necessarily" endemic and that it could fade away, just as other mosquito-borne viruses have done in recent years.

"We're on the lookout for additional cases of Zika," she said. But, "if you look at dengue and chikungunya, (they give) some indication that we may expect small pockets of local transmission."


Edited by niman

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