Epidemiology, Prevention, and Potential Future Treatments of Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Infection
Purpose of Review
While mosquitoes have been primarily responsible for outbreaks of Zika virus worldwide, most prominently in the Americas during 2015 and 2016, there has been increased recognition of the importance of sexual transmission. We review human reports and animal model studies of Zika sexual transmission and summarize potential therapeutic candidates.
Male-to-female, male-to-male, and female-to-male transmission has been reported, among unprotected sexual contacts of returning travelers. Human studies have shown the potential importance of long-term persistence of Zika virus in semen while animal models have begun to yield important insights into pathogenesis of Zika infection of the genital tract.
Adherence to federal and global guidelines for prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus from travelers to their sexual partners represents the best strategy for reducing the risk of transmission outside of endemic areas. Active research on potential treatments may soon yield candidates for clinical trials.