Officials with the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) are reporting confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the first Zika virus case acquired through sexual transmission in Dallas County, Texas, in 2016.
The patient contracted the virus after having sexual contact with an ill individual who returned from a country where Zika virus is present, according to a statement from the department.
“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,” Zachary Thompson, Dallas County Health director, said in the statement. “Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections.”
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.
Officials are urging individuals with symptoms to see a health care 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. There is no specific medication available to treat Zika virus and there is not a vaccine.
“Education and awareness is crucial in preventing Zika virus,” Christopher Perkins, DO, MPH, DCHHS medical director/health authority, said in the statement. “Patients are highly encouraged to follow prevention recommendations to avoid transmitting and spreading Zika virus.”
1. CDC. Potential Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus. Emerg Infect Dis. 2016;(21)2.