The hype about Zika—the brutal virus making waves for its widespread contraction and symptoms in pregnant women that cause severe birth defects—is just at its beginning. Check out the virus’ newest developments, which are hitting closer to home than ever.
Zika-transmitting mosquitos are now in the continental United States. Four confirmed cases of Zika in Miami, FL, are likely to have been caused by infected mosquitos in the area as of Friday, July 29. This is the first threat to the continental United States that mosquitos are carrying the virus within the country. There are over 1,300 cases of Zika in the US, but those had been linked to contraction in a foreign country or by having sexual relations with an infected person until now.
Zika virus may lead to miscarriage. Dutch researchers reported on July 27 that a woman’s miscarriage may be tied to her Zika infection. After spending three weeks in Suriname, South America, the woman developed a rash and complained of headache and joint pain, and two weeks after these symptoms began, doctors found no fetal heartbeat.
According to Health, traces of Zika virus were found in the woman’s amniotic fluid, placental tissue, urine and blood, and the fetal stem cells. This situation doesn’t prove that Zika caused the miscarriage, but evidence is strong that there was an association between the virus and fetal loss. Pregnant women who contract Zika are already high-risk patients as the virus causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and brains.
Read more: 4 Things You Need to Know about Zika Virus
Female to male transfer has been confirmed. Earlier this month, the New York City health department reported the first case of female to male Zika transmission through sexual intercourse. Previously, all confirmed sexually transmitted cases were passed from man to woman or were between two men.
Because 80 percent of people with Zika show no symptoms and the risk for infection is continually heightened, it’s important to use protection when engaging in sexual activity to avoid the contraction of Zika.
Olympians and spectators are heading to a Zika hotspot. The 2016 Summer Olympics begin August 5 and athletes are already making their way to Rio de Janiero, the capital of Brazil, which has been hit hardest by the virus’ outbreak. World Health Organization chief Margaret Chan says the risk is “low for an individual, and it is manageable.”
Business Insider notes that while nearly 500,000 people are expected to visit for the Games, just under a third of event tickets have not been sold. Worries of Zika contraction may be a contributing factor to the low attendance rates.