Sexually-transmitted case of Zika virus reported in US

The first case of the Zika virus acquired through sexual transmission has been confirmed.

The patient, from Dallas, Texas, reportedly had sexual contact with an individual who had recently returned from a country where Zika was present and had contracted the virus.

Until now, it was thought the virus was only transmitted by mosquitoes, although there was some speculation it may be sexually-transmitted as well.

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‘Now that we know Zika virus can be transmitted through sex, this increases our awareness campaign in educating the public about protecting themselves and others,’ said Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

 

‘Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections.’

The virus causes flu-like symptoms in adults but has been linked to birth defects, such as shrunken brains, in the babies of those affected.

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Yesterday, the World Health Organisation declared the Zika virus outbreak an international emergency.

The earliest recorded cases of Zika were in Brazil, which now has 1.5million affected and which is set to host the Olympic Games this summer.