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US Reports First Case Of Zika Virus Contracted Through Sexual Intercourse

The Zika Virus, a virus that is known to be carried by daytime Aedes mosquitoes and has slowly spread in several countries worldwide, has made its first human transmission recorded in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a patient from Dallas, Texas has contracted the virus, but not due to mosquito bites, but through sexual intercourse.

The person who got infected with the virus did not travel to affected countries, although the person’s partner reportedly just got home from Venezuela, where the virus has been recorded.

In recent months, the virus has steadily spread from Africa to the Pacific islands and to Central and South America. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the Zika virus is a global public health emergency.

The Dallas patient is reportedly the first person to contract the virus through sexual intercourse, and if Zika can indeed be transferred from one person to another person through sexual contact, then all countries are at risk – not just those that have Aedes mosquitoes.

This possibility of sexual transmission poses some questions that cannot be answered at this time. Fortunately, the Zika virus is not like Acute Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) that has no cure and shortens life significantly.

Know More About the Zika Virus Through This Video Released by WHO

Once a person has contracted the Zika virus, he or she will experience fever, headaches, some rashes, and joint pains. While the symptoms of the disease do not lead to death, reports show that it could lead to microcephaly among babies whose mothers were infected.

Microcephaly is a medical condition among children wherein the brain was unable to grow successfully at its normal rate during pregnancy. As a result, the child’s brain and head are significantly smaller than that of a normal baby.

Brazil, which is currently the worst hit by the Zika virus, has reported that it is investigating 3,670 possible cases of microcephaly in babies that are related to the virus.

So far, 404 cases have been confirmed in the country to be related to the virus, which has caused 76 infant deaths both during pregnancy and right after.

As a result, the CDC has issued travel warnings for pregnant women in the countries affected by the virus.

However, aside from medical concerns among infected individuals and their babies, the Zika virus has also caused concerns within the Catholic Church.

Because the virus has the potential to affect pregnancy that could lead to a lifelong disease among children, countries in South America are now advising its women to avoid pregnancy for the mean time.

According to an American Catholic priest, this should pose a problem within the Roman Catholic Church, which prohibits birth control methods.

“I’ve never seen this advice before, and when you hear it, you think, ‘What are the bishops going to do?'” said the Rev. John Paris, who is a priest at Boston College.

Meanwhile, Daniel Ramirez, who is an assistant professor of history and American culture at the University of Michigan, said that the issue will “present a lot of problems” for priests and bishops in the affected countries.

“They’re going to have to really thread a fine theological needle here,” added Ramirez, who is also an expert in the Latin American religious culture.

The Zika virus has spread in the lower portion of the United States, particularly in Florida, which is close to the Caribbean and South America.

After nine people had been diagnosed with the disease, Florida Gov. Rick Scott immediately declared a state of emergency in the affected counties.

“Although Florida’s current nine Zika cases were travel-related, we have to ensure Florida is prepared and stays ahead of the spread of the Zika virus in our state,” the Florida governor said.

[Image by Mario Tama, Getty Images]

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