Date
21 January 2017
A woman in El Salvador washes a water tank to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in her house. Photo: Reuters
A woman in El Salvador washes a water tank to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in her house. Photo: Reuters

Sex, not mosquito, behind first Zika virus case in US

The first known case of Zika virus transmitted in the United States was reported Tuesday in Texas by local health officials, who said it likely was contracted through sex and not a mosquito bite, Reuters reported.

The news came a day after the World Health Organization declared Zika an international public health emergency.

The virus, linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is spreading rapidly in the Americas, and WHO officials expressed concern Tuesday that it could hit Africa and Asia as well.

Zika had been thought to be spread by the bite of mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, so sexual contact as a mode of transmission would be a potentially alarming development.

Dallas County Health and Human Services said on Twitter that the person was infected through sexual contact with someone who had traveled to Venezuela.

The virus has been reported in more than 30 countries and linked to microcephaly, in which babies have abnormally small heads and improperly developed brains.

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