The mosquito-borne Zika Virus has been transmitted through sexual contact in Texas, according to officials.
The unidentified carrier previously traveled to Venezuela before having sexual contact with their partner. The virus, which causes flu-like symptoms, has also been connected to the birth defect microcephaly. Microcephaly causes underdeveloped brains in babies.
Dallas County Health and Human Services released a statement verifying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s report.
The county “has received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the first Zika virus case acquired through sexual transmission in Dallas County in 2016,” said a statement. “The patient was infected with the virus after having sexual contact with an ill individual who returned from a country where Zika virus is present. The confirmed case did not travel.”
The CDC last week acknowledged two cases of Zika thought to have been sexually transmitted. One of the cases involved an American passing Zika to his wife after traveling to research malaria in Senegal. Another man had traces of Zika in his sperm, however the virus had vanished from his blood.
Yahoo News reports:
“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, DCHHS director.
“Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually transmitted infections.”
So far, there have been few cases of Zika found in North America. South American and Caribbean officials urge precaution such as tents, mosquito repellent, and even abstinence.