First case of Zika virus hits US

Virus reported in Texas attributed to human transmission and not mosquito bite.

Tags: Zika Virus US WHO
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Mosquito (illustration)
Mosquito (illustration)
Hebrew University

One day after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international state of emergency due to the Zika virus that has hit South America particularly hard, the first case of the virus being transmitted in the United States was reported.

The latest case of the virus was reported in Texas by local health officials. Zika has usually been transmitted by mosquito bites, and has been linked to thousands of birth defects in babies in Brazil. It is spreading rapidly throughout South and Central America.

So far it has been believed that the virus is spread only by mosquitoes, and the indication from the US case that the virus is also spread by human contact poses an alarming development. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tom Frieden confirmed that this was the first case of the virus to be found in the U.S. in someone who had not traveled abroad during the current outbreak. While the CDC did not investigate how the virus was transmitted, local health officials have claimed that it was transmitted via intercourse. The CDC recommended taking precautions against unprotected intercourse in any affected region. 

According to Reuters the virus has been documented in more than 30 countries so far and it has been linked to microcephaly, a condition in which babies have abnormally small heads and improperly developed brains.

WHO on Tuesday expressed their concerns that the virus will soon hit Africa and Asia as well.