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Sexually transmitted Zika case confirmed in Texas

Updated: December 7, 2019 Published: 2016-02-03

( - DALLAS - Health officials said Tuesday in Texas that a person has been infected with the Zika virus through sex in the first case of the disease that is transmitted into the United States amid the current epidemic in Latin America.

The unidentified person had not traveled but had sex with a person who had returned from Venezuela and fallen ill with Zika, health officials said Dallas County. The US Centers for Disease Control issued a statement saying that the laboratory tests confirmed the non-traveler was infected with Zika.
The virus, which has been linked to birth defects in the Americas, is mainly spread through mosquito bites, but investigators had been exploring the possibility that it could be transmitted sexually. There was a report of a Colorado researcher who picked up the virus in Africa and apparently spread to his wife back home in 2008, and is in the semen of a man in Tahiti.
"It's very strange, but this is not new," Zachary Thompson, director of the Health and Human Services Dallas County, told WFAA-TV in Dallas. "We always look at the point that it could be transmitted sexually."
The CDC says it will issue guidance in the coming days in the prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus, focusing on male sexual partners of women who are or may be pregnant. The CDC has recommended pregnant women to postpone travel to more than two dozen countries with outbreaks Zika, mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Venezuela. He also said that other visitors should use insect repellent and take other precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
In the epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean, the main villain identified so far is called Aedes aegypti - a kind of mosquito that spreads other tropical diseases including chikungunya and dengue fever. It is located in the southern United States, but no transmission by mosquitoes has been reported in the continental United States to date. There have been some 30 cases in the US in the last year, all travelers who brought it to the country.
The World Health Organization on Monday declared a global emergency on the Zika virus spreading rapidly, calling it an "extraordinary event" that threatens the world. The statement came after an emergency meeting of independent experts called in response to an increase in babies born with brain defects and abnormally small heads in Brazil since the virus was first found there last year.
WHO officials say it could be six to nine months before science proves or disproves any connection between the virus and babies born with abnormally small heads.
The CDC said that in the recent case of Texas, there is no risk to the developing fetus.
Zika was first identified in 1947 in Uganda. It is not expected to cause serious damage to last year; about 80 percent of those infected never experience symptoms.
The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. The disease is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week. Symptoms usually begin two days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
While Thompson told the television station that the case of sexual transmission is a "game changer", adding that he did not want people in Dallas County to overreact. Health officials and Thompson said that sex partners can be protected by the use of condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

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