Pa. health department issues new warning on Zika virus

Christopher Dornblaser

While there have not been any cases of the Zika virus reported in Pennsylvania, the state Department of Health has released information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on preventing sexual transmission of the virus.

The CDC advises pregnant women and their male sex partners to discuss the male's potential exposures and history of Zika-like illness with the woman's health care provider, and the providers should consult CDC's guidelines for evaluation and testing of pregnant women.

Health authorities have linked the virus to women giving birth to babies with microcephaly — abnormally small heads with incomplete brain development.

Pa. authorities: Zika virus a concern if you're pregnant

"The Department of Health is concerned about the health of all Pennsylvanians who are potentially at risk from Zika virus," Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy state in a news release. "We are following the guidelines set forth by the experts at the CDC and are fully committed to taking extra vigilance against this emerging health threat."

Men with a pregnant sex partner who may have traveled to an area of active Zika virus transmission should consistently and correctly use condoms during sex or abstain from sexual activity for the duration of the pregnancy, according to the release.

Pregnant women who must travel to Zika-infected areas should dress in long-sleeved shirts and long pants, stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active, and to use insect repellent according to directions and not overuse it, according to the release.

The CDC has stated that while transmission of the virus through sex is possible, mosquito bites remain the primary way for the virus to be transmitted.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at