There is speculation that a man in Spain may have sexually transmitted the Zika virus to his wife. The middle-aged couple had gone to the Maldives for a ten—day vacation in February of this year according to a report. Both were bitten by mosquitos on the trip and the man manifested symptoms of the Zika infection shortly after their return, including a fever, rash, joint pains, and headaches which all disappeared after about a week. Before the man had completely recovered from the infection however, the couple had unprotected sexual intercourse.

A week later, and two weeks after the man first became infected with Zika, his wife developed the same symptoms. Doctors tested urine and blood samples from the couple as well as the husband’s semen which contained no sperm due to the fact that he had a vasectomy earlier. The woman’s urine tested positive for the Zika virus and so did her husband’s semen.

The medical prognosis was that the man was most likely infected from a mosquito bite while in the Maldives. Mosquitos are the main carrier of the disease and those infected with Zika are known to inhabit the Maldives according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However his wife did not develop Zika symptoms until 18 days after she returned from the trip which is well beyond the incubation period of the virus of between 3-12 days according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. For this reason, doctors felt it unlikely that she got infected through a mosquito bite as in the case of her husband and the possibility of the disease being transmitted sexually began to be investigated.  While it is known that Zika can be transmitted sexually, this would be the first time of a recorded case of man with a vasectomy transmitting the virus to somebody else.

The virus remained in the man’s semen up to 69 days after he exhibited symptoms of the infection which is the longest time recorded in this scenario. Once of the conclusions reported from this case is that the Zika virus may be able to survive in other fluids that make up semen such as that coming from male genitalia or pre-ejaculate secretions. The report also recommended having protected sex after travelling to a Zika mosquito inhabited area, even if a man has already had a vasectomy. WHO has a similar recommendation of advocating protected sex for at least six months after returning from any Zika danger zone.