US logs first case of Zika virus transmission via sex in Texas

By @vitthernandez on
A mock copulating couple is displayed at the exhibition "Sex and Evolution" at the Natural History museum in the western city of Muenster October 17, 2013. Reuters/Ina Fassbender

The Zika virus could be transmitted not only by a bite of the Aedes mosquito. It could also be transmitted by sex.

According to health officials in Dallas, Texas, a person has acquired the virus through sexual contact with someone from a Zika virus-infected country. The patient, the first recorded in the US who acquired it person-to-person, remains unidentified. The patient had not traveled overseas when current the Zika virus outbreak occurred, according to a tweet by Dr Tom Frieden, director of US Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC).

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Gizmodo reports that Zika virus transmission by sexual contact was discovered by a team of medical researchers in 2009 during a field study. But there has been no case of transmission by mosquito bite in the US. The CDC did not confirm the mode of transmission, although it confirmed the transmission, according to a Reuters tweet.

However, the Pan American Health Organisation insists that there should be more evidence to confirm the virus could be acquired through sexual contact. Besides the Texas case, there is one more case published in medical literature in which the virus was found in semen.

With the confirmation that transmission of the virus could be through sex, experts now add a third advice to the public on precautions to be taken so as not to acquire the virus. The third one would be not to have sex with a person from a Zika virus-infected country. It would be on top of not traveling to such nations and women from these areas not getting pregnant for the next few years.

Besides abstinence for those with self control, “condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections,” advises Zachary Thompson, director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS).

The rise in infections has prompted the World Health Organisation to declare on Monday the virus outbreak as a global emergency.