First U.S. Case of Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus in Texas
The first case of Zika that was locally acquired in the United States was confirmed in Texas on Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The case, which was confirmed by Dallas County health officials involved a patient who had sexual intercourse with their partner who recently returned from Venezuela, and was infected by the mosquito-borne virus.
There were only two worldwide cases of Zika transferred through sex before Tuesday but the CDC said it confirmed the test results, finding Zika in the blood of a "nontraveler in the continental United States." It was made known that there was no risk to a developing fetus in this case.
While Zika has received worldwide attention emerging as the new health crisis, it's important to know what the virus is and how it is prevented, or treated.
The primary concern of Zika is the connection to a neurological birth disorder if the virus is found in the blood of a pregnant woman. There has been an increase in babies born with abnormally small heads predominantly in Brazil and French Polynesia - a condition known as microcephaly.
While the virus tends not to be serious or long-lasting, pregnant women are urged to be especially careful, since the virus can cause birth defects, such as brain damage and small heads in babies.
The CDC announced it will soon provide guidance on sexual transmission, with a "focus on the male sexual partners of women who are or who may be pregnant."
The most common way Zika is transmitted is from an Aedes mosquito bite, which are often found in Central and South America. There are currently no reports of Zika virus being locally-transmitted by mosquitoes in Dallas County.
The Zika virus is now being locally transmitted in Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Venezuela, says the CDC. - CNN
Dallas County Health and Human Services recommends to take the following preventative measures:
- DEET All Day, Every Day: Whenever you’re outside, use insect repellents that contain DEET or other EPA approved repellents and follow instructions.
- DRESS: Wear long, loose, and light-colored clothing outside.
- DRAIN: Remove all standing water in and around your home.
- DUSK & DAWN: Limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn hours when mosquitoes are most active.
- Choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or screens on windows or doors.
- Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are outside or in a room that is not well-screened.
- Sexual partners can protect each other by using condoms to prevent spreading sexually-transmitted infections.