The Centers for Disease Control and Dallas County Health and Human Services have confirmed a sexually transmitted case of Zika virus in Dallas County.
The patient reportedly had sexual contact with someone who had recently traveled to a region where the Zika virus is present. The virus is exploding in Latin America, Africa and southeast Asia.
The virus was previously thought to be transmitted only by mosquitos and not by human interaction.
“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, according to fox4news.com. “Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections.”
On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a global health emergency. The virus causes a mild fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes that last for two to seven days. There is no vaccine for the virus.
According to the Center for Disease control, those most at risk from the malady are pregnant women. Health officials believe there is a link between the virus and birth defects, including abnormal head shapes.
There have been seven confirmed cases of Zika virus in the Houston area. The WHO estimates there will be four million cases of the virus in the Americas within the next year.