The United States has confirmed the first case of the Zika virus contracted in the country.
Health officials have confirmed that the mosquito-borne virus was transmitted by sexual contact.
The patient is from Dallas, Texas, and has reportedly had sex with someone who had recently returned to the United States form Venezuela.
This virus has been linked to to the recent rise of microcephaly, or cases of babies being born with abnormally small heads. Read about the symptoms here.
“There is one reported case of Zika virus through possible sexual transmission,” said Dr Anne Schuchat, CDC deputy director. “That gives you the plausibility of spread, but the science is clear to date that Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.”
According to the World Health Organization, the virus is now a global health emergency.
The CDC has updated its Zika virus guidance for pregnant women, saying that they can protect themselves by finding out if their sexual partner has traveled to or lives in a place where the virus is circulating.
“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, Dallas County health and human services director.
“Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually transmitted infections,” he added.
For more information on the Zika Virus, see the WHO’s FAQs page here.