DALLAS, Texas (KXAN) — The first Zika virus case transmitted through sex in the United States has been identified in Dallas County. On Tuesday, the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control on the positive sample.
Officials say 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. Prior to this case, the CDC indicated on its website that no locally transmitted Zike cases have been reported in the United States, but only in returning travelers.
“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.”
Health officials in Dallas County says there are no reports of Zika virus being transmitted by mosquitoes in their county. However, it is still important to protect yourself from mosquitoes because imported cases may spread through local mosquitoes because they can transmit the virus.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of Tuesday morning, there were six confirmed travel-related cases of Zika virus in Texas–all of which were in Harris County.
The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week. Individuals with symptoms are urged to see a healthcare provider if they have visited an area where Zika virus is present or had sexual contact with a person who traveled to an area where Zika virus is present.
Currently, there is no specific medication available to treat Zika virus and there is not a vaccine.