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What should men know about the Zika virus?

All people—men included—should know that when travelling in areas endemic to the Zika virus, they should use mosquito repellent and wear long sleeves and long pants. If you are diagnosed with Zika, you should treat your fever with acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), rest, drink plenty of fluids and follow up with your primary care provider. If you or your partner travel to Zika-endemic areas, use condoms for six months to prevent transmission and having a baby that is born with severe defects.

In contrast to other mosquito-borne diseases, Zika can actually act as a sexually transmitted pathogen. Men could carry the Zika virus in their semen even without ever showing symptoms of the infection. And, worst case scenario, a man could have the infection for months without realizing it and sexually transmit it to a pregnant woman who’s never even left the country. This could cause the fetus to develop microcephaly.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.