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More athletes are avoiding competing in Brazil’s 2016 Olympics due to fears related to the Zika virus. Although the media has placed a high focus on the dangers for women who contract the virus, infectious disease experts agree—reproductively speaking—that men have the most reason for concern after visiting a country with a large Zika outbreak.
If a pregnant woman is bitten by a mosquito that carries the Zika virus, or if a woman becomes pregnant shortly after being bitten, her unborn baby runs the risk of being born with microcephaly, a severe, neurological birth disorder linked to Zika. But, the virus can also been found in the semen of infected men, and the amount of times the virus can be sexually transmitted is uncertain. This creates a chance of a man infecting his partner and putting their unborn baby at risk for microcephaly.
Because there is limited data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that men who have been diagnosed with or who have had symptoms of Zika use condoms or abstain from sex for at least six months after symptoms occur.