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February 5, 2016

On February 2, 2016 public health officials in Dallas, Texas reported the first case of the Zika virus being transmitted through sexual contact. A patient, who had not traveled to a region where Zika is present, was diagnosed with the virus. The patient’s sexual partner had recently returned from Venezuela and had contracted the virus before returning to the United States. Officials gave no further details of the infected couple. 

Analyst Comment: It was previously believed that Zika could only be spread by the Aedes mosquito. This discovery raises many questions about the nature of the Zika virus. It is not yet known how long the virus persists in the system, or how long after exposure a patient can transmit it to another person. Until more details emerge, travelers returning from regions affected by Zika are advised to consult with medical professionals prior to engaging in sexual contact, to avoid spreading the virus.

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Zika virus