The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed a Zika virus case in Texas that was acquired through sexual transmission.
“Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) has received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the first Zika virus case acquired through sexual transmission in Dallas County in 2016,” a statement from the county said.
The county said that a patient was infected with the virus after having sexual contact with an ill individual who returned from a country where Zika virus is present.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how the virus will spread over time. Initially, limited to the Americas, the virus has spread rapidly to Europe and prompted the World Health Organisation to declare it a global emergency.
The virus, which has fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis as symptoms, has more devastating effect in pregnant women. The virus has been linked with birth defects, particularly the birth of babies with small skull, brains and the tendency to have stunted growth.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised pregnant women and women who trying to become pregnant to take the following precautions until “more is known” about the virus.
- Pregnant women should consider postponing travel to areas affected by the virus.
- Pregnant women who must travel to one of these regions should talk to their doctor and avoid mosquito bites.
- Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare professional if their partner has had exposure to the virus.
- Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.
In response, CDC has issued travel notices for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
Last week, the Federal Government had also alerted Nigerians about the outbreak of Zika virus infection, with directive that the citizens, especially pregnant women, should be restricted from traveling to Latin America until the situation improves.
The government directed the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to include Zika virus diagnosis as part of the ongoing efforts to manage Lassa fever outbreak in the country, adding that anyone coming from any of the Latin American countries should be interviewed at the various ports of entry to ascertain evidence of Zika virus symptoms.
A statement by the Federal Ministry of Health quoted the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, as saying, “The World Health Organisation has raised a global alert because the disease has affected about 23 countries in Americas especially in Latin America. At the moment, there is no cure or vaccine for Zika virus infection.
“The Federal Ministry of Health hereby advises a travel restriction especially by pregnant women to Latin America for now until the situation improves. In addition, we have directed the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to include Zika virus diagnosis as part of ongoing effort to manage Lassa fever outbreak in the country.
“Nigerians should be vigilant and report promptly any case of unexplained fever that is more than 48 hours, especially in those with recent travels to Latin America, to health care professionals.
“Nigerians working at various ports of entry into the country should interview anyone coming from any of the Latin American countries for evidence of Zika virus symptoms.”
You can read more about the virus on the Center for Disease Control site here
Credits: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ThePunch