Daily Management Review

Sexual Transmission thought to be Behind the First Reported US Case of Zika Virus Transmission


Sexual Transmission thought to be Behind the First Reported US Case of Zika Virus Transmission
A day after the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency, the first known case of Zika virus transmission in the United States was reported in Texas on Tuesday by local health officials.
Health officials claimed that the virus was transmitted through sex and not by a mosquito bite.
WHO officials on Tuesday expressed concern that the virus, linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is spreading rapidly in the Americas could hit Africa and Asia as well.
Sexual contact as a mode of transmission for Zika virus would be a potentially alarming development as it is believed that the virus is spread by the bite of mosquitoes of the Aedes genus.
It was the first U.S. Zika case in someone who had not traveled abroad in the current outbreak, confirmed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after its Director, Dr. Tom Frieden twitted about it.
But the CDC has not yet investigated how the virus was transmitted.
It has been advised by the CDC after the case that men traveling to areas with the Zika virus should consider using condoms. Contact with semen from men exposed to the virus should be avoided by pregnant women.
The person was infected through sexual contact with someone who had traveled to Venezuela, said the Dallas County Department of health on Twitter. The county health officials said that the person infected did not travel to the South American country.
"Case details are being evaluated, but the possibility of sexual transmission from an infected person to a non-infected person is likely in this case," said the Texas Department of State Health Services which was slightly more cautious in its assessment in a statement.
There were no reports of the virus being transmitted by mosquitoes in the Texas county, authorities of the county said.

One U.S. case of possible person-to-person sexual transmission was previously noted by the international health officials. More evidence was needed to confirm sexual contact as a means of Zika transmission, said the Pan American Health Organization. The medical literature also has one case in which the virus was detected in semen.
Microcephaly, in which babies have abnormally small heads and improperly developed brains is believed to be caused by Zika virus that  has been reported in more than 30 countries.
Blood donors who had visited Zika virus outbreak areas such as Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central or South America have been asked by the American Red Cross to wait for at least 28 days before donating. The disaster relief agency however said that the risk of transmitting the virus through blood donations remained "extremely" low in the continental United States.
Following the news of the first U.S. transmission of the Zika virus, the Dow Jones transportation average ended 2.9 percent lower.
The WHO launched a global response unit to fight the mosquito-borne virus on Tuesday warning that the virus could infect 4 million people in the Americas.
"Most important, we need to set up surveillance sites in low- and middle-income countries so that we can detect any change in the reporting patterns of microcephaly at an early stage," Dr. Anthony Costello said in Geneva. Costello is WHO's director for maternal, child and adolescent health.