Yet another reminder that summer is coming and those pesky little bugs we all hate will be on the prowl and looking to tap into our juicy skin. Protect yourself, because they’re hungry.
According to reports, Brian Foy, a researcher from Colorado State University, passed a rare virus to his wife after mosquitoes in Senegal repeatedly bit him while conducting research.
It’s taken some time to sort out, but back in 2008 Foy was working in Bandafassi, Senegal conducting research on a malaria study. Over the course of several months, he and his graduate assistant Kevin Kobylinski were bitten countless times.
Days after returning from Senegal, both men got sick. They experienced fatigue, swollen joints, rashes, painful urination, severe headaches, and Foy even found blood in his semen. Shortly after coming down with an unknown illness, Foy’s wife,Joy Chilson Foy, also got sick and began experiencing similar symptoms. Despite the couple coming down with similar illnesses, their four children remained healthy.
After returning to Senegal a year later and describing his ordeal, a colleague told Kobylinski that Zika, an extremely rare virus primarily spread through mosquitoes, had probably caused his illness. After having their blood work from the previous year tested, it was confirmed, Kobylinski and the Foys had the rare Zika virus.
According to Time:
“There were only 14 Zika cases reported in the medical literature until 2007, when an outbreak on the Micronesian island of Yap affected 73% of the population, largely those between 30 and 59, and sickened 50% more women than men — a ratio that hinted at the virus’ sexual transmissibility. With most sexually transmitted infections, vaginal intercourse poses a higher risk of infection for women than for men.”
Foy, who wrote the case study for his experience with the Zika virus himself, published the findings in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“There is no direct evidence that Foy’s wife was infected through sexual contact, but the circumstantial evidence is strong. It’s very unlikely that she was infected by a bite by a mosquito that first bit her husband; the three tropical Aedes mosquito species known to transmit Zika don’t live in northern Colorado, and moreover, the virus has to complete a two-week life cycle within the insect before it can infect the next human; Foy’s wife fell ill just nine days after his return.”
While I’m sure Foy and his wife were not too happy about coming down with the Zika virus, they will go down in history as possibly breaking new scientific ground.