Zika virus reaches Texas, as a sexually transmitted disease

Authorities in Texas said they have confirmation of the virus being transmitted by sexual contact and not just by tropical mosquitoes

Miami: Top health authorities in the United States of America have confirmed the Zika virus has been transmitted sexually. With concern growing that an outbreak sweeping Latin America could spread much farther, health authorities in Texas said they had confirmation of the virus being transmitted by sexual contact and not just tropical mosquitoes.

A sand sculpture, created by renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik, spreads awareness about the Zika virus at Puri beach in Odisha on Wednesday. PIC/PTI
A sand sculpture, created by renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik, spreads awareness about the Zika virus at Puri beach in Odisha on Wednesday. Pic/PTI

That is a troubling prospect for the United States, Canada and Europe, where Zika had so far only appeared in travellers returning from affected areas. "The patient was infected with the virus after having sexual contact with an affected individual who returned from a country where Zika virus is present this year," a Dallas County statement read.

CDC confirms
The county subsequently tweeted that the virus was contracted from someone who had travelled to Venezuela, and that a second case of Zika imported from Venezuela has also been documented. Dr Tom Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the sexually transmitted infection in an email yesterday.

Someone who visited Venezuela and was infected there developed Zika symptoms, as did their sexual partner who never left the United States, he said on Twitter. Last month, the CDC said it was aware of one reported case of sexual transmission of Zika and one case of the virus being present in a man’s semen after it disappeared from his blood.

1947 The year in which Zika was first identified.

Indonesia confirms case from last year

JAKARTA: Indonesia yesterday officially confirmed a case of the Zika virus dating back to last year but said it was prepared to handle any outbreak of the disease. A single case of the mosquito-borne virus was confirmed in Jambi on Sumatra Island. It was discovered by researchers studying specimens taken during a dengue fever outbreak between December 2014 and April 2015.

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