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Health Officials Urge Abstinence for Some Couples Threatened By Zika

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The threat of the Zika virus may be heightened in San Antonio as the mosquito season approaches, due to the city’s proximity to Mexico. Health officials are advising some couples in San Antonio wishing to have children take precautions.

The symptoms of Zika are usually mild—fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, or red eyes. Some people’s symptoms are so mild they don’t even know they’ve been infected.

Health officials warn this is dangerous, because Zika in pregnant women is now known to potentially cause microcephaly, a birth defect that causes babies to be born with smaller brains and heads. The Zika virus is transmitted through mosquito bites, but also sexually, as it is present in semen of infected men.

"There’s two things we want to leave with: couples who have a man who has been diagnosed with Zika, and has symptoms of Zika, they should wait at least six months before having sex with their partner," says Dr. Vincent Nathan,interim Director of Metro Health in San Antonio. "If the male has traveled to a Zika-endemic country, we suggest they should have abstinence for at least eight weeks after they return."

People can protect themselves by wearing mosquito repellent containing either Deet or Picaridin. Officials also urge citizens to remove standing water and trash from their properties where mosquitoes breed.