Zika Virus: First Case Of Virus In United States Was Spread Sexually

The Zika virus is no longer transmitted by mosquito bite alone. Health officials in Texas have confirmed that the first case of the Zika virus seen in the United States was transmitted through sexual contact with a woman who was bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus. Due to this new method of transmission, CDC officials will soon be releasing information on how to avoid catching the virus through sexual means.

The guidelines will “focus on the male sexual partners of women who are or who may be pregnant.” CDC Director Tom Frieden spoke with CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta about what the CDC needs to learn about the sexual transmission of Zika.

“There have been isolated cases of spread through blood transfusion or sexual contact and that’s not very surprising. The virus is in the blood for about a week. How long it would remain in the semen is something that needs to be studied and we’re working on that now. What we know is the vast majority of spread is going to be from mosquitoes. The bottom line is mosquitoes are the real culprit here.”

What Is The Zika Virus?

The Zika virus is a disease spread mainly by mosquitos that have the virus. Zika is related to other mosquito-spread illnesses such as dengue fever, yellow fever, and West Nile virus. Zika is not normally fatal, and only 20 percent of people who catch it get sick from it.

Pregnant women are asked to take extra precautions against the virus due to the fact that some birth defects have been traced back to mothers who had the Zika virus. Health officials are even asking women to consider not becoming pregnant for the next two years if they are living in a country where Zika is becoming widespread. Diagnosis is done by blood test and giving a full patient history, including places traveled. No vaccine or cure exists.

“Based on what we know now, the best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites AND to avoid exposure to semen from someone who has been exposed to Zika virus or has been ill from Zika virus infection.”

Symptoms Of Zika Virus

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Pain around joints
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

Treatment Of Zika Virus

  • Bed rest
  • Consume water to remain hydrated
  • Tylenol for fever

Health officials across the globe are becoming very concerned with the spread of the virus with each passing day. The virus has been confirmed in 24 different countries. World Health Organization experts are predicting that up to four million people in the United States will become infected this year.

Scientists and researchers are working feverishly to find a vaccine for Zika. Doctor Paulo Verardi is an associate professor in UConn’s Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science. Dr. Verardi states that he already has a vaccine that is ready to be tested.

“We already have one of them ready for them to start testing very shortly, and we have a number of other ones that we are in the process of developing right now.”

Are you concerned about the Zika virus?

[Photo by Felipe Dana/AP, File]