As the 2016 Olympic Games approach, they have created a heightened awareness of the Zika virus and the potential health concerns associated with it. The Zika virus, carried by mosquitoes can also be transmitted through sexual contact and is prevalent in the host country, Brazil. There currently is no vaccine, no known “cure” and it has also caused severe birth defects. Most at risk are women who are already pregnant, as the virus can be passed from mother to fetus. The transmission of the virus in utero could potentially cause birth defects such as microcephaly (a condition in which the brain does not develop properly during pregnancy and/or stops growing after birth). According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, women who are not pregnant nor planning to become pregnant shortly after a visit to an affected area, have little risk, reproductively, as blood tests show the virus usually clears the bloodstream within a week to 10 days. However, discussed less often, is the risk to men. The Zika virus has been found in the semen of infected men and it is unknown how long it stays there and over what period of time a man can transmit the virus through sex. This may be a bigger concern leading into the world’s largest sporting event in August. World golf #1 and #4, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy, respectively, have already pulled out of the Olympics due to concerns over Zika. But what about the athletes and the tourists/fans who still choose to go? And is there a risk that those who do go will return home and accelerate the spread of the virus?
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Most of our attorneys and staff members are working remotely and we are fully equipped to continue providing all services during this time of uncertainty. As each state's guidelines are updated, we will gradually be returning to work from our four offices. In the meantime, we would ask that you communicate with us by phone, email or fax and we will respond as quickly as possible. Please do not visit our offices at this time without first communicating with a staff member.