Washington: The first locally transmitted case of Zika virus in the US has been reported in a county in Texas, the county's health department said. Dallas County Health and Human Services on Tuesday said in a statement that 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, Xinhua reported.
For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, the agency did not provide additional identifying information. "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, director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services said. "Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections," Thompson said. Zika, transmitted primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, is believed to cause birth defects such as microcephaly, or small heads. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat the disease. About one in five people infected with Zika virus will develop symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain, and pink eye. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and the case fatality rate is low.