Dallas Health Department Confirms Sexually Transmitted Zika Case

"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, the department's director.

The Dallas County Health and Human Services agency in Dallas, Texas, announced Feb. 2 that it has received confirmation from CDC of the first Zika virus case acquired through sexual transmission in the county this year. The patient was infected with the virus after having sexual contact with an ill individual who returned from a country where Zika virus is present. For medical confidentiality and personal privacy reasons, DCHHS provided no other identifying information about the individual.

"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, the department's director. "Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections."

The department is advising people with symptoms of Zika virus -- fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis, with usually mild symptoms lasting several days to a week -- to visit a health care provider if they have visited an area where Zika virus is present or have had sexual contact with a person who traveled to an area where Zika virus is present.

There is no medication available to treat Zika virus and there is no vaccine. "Education and awareness is crucial in preventing Zika virus," said Dr. Christopher Perkins, the DCHHS medical director/health authority. "Patients are highly encouraged to follow prevention recommendations to avoid transmitting and spreading Zika virus."

The health department recommends using the "4Ds" to reduce the chance of being bitten by a mosquito:

  • DEET all day, every day: Whenever you're outside, use insect repellents that contain DEET or other EPA-approved repellents and follow instructions.
  • DRESS: Wear long, loose, light-colored clothing outside.
  • DRAIN: Remove all standing water in and around your home.
  • DUSK & DAWN: Limit outdoor activities during dusk and dawn hours when mosquitoes are most active.

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