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First U.S. Case Of Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Reported

Update Date: Feb 04, 2016 12:11 PM EST
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If you thought that Zika was a mosquito-borne disease, then think again. Health officials Tuesday reported the first known case in Texas, which has been transported through sexual contact

Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed it through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They found that the unidentified person got it after a sexual encounter with a traveller who had returned from Venezuela, although the patient hadn't travelled abroad.

The Texas Department of State Health Services had not confirmed it immediately but admitted that it could be the reason.

The WHO declared that it is a public health emergency, according to Reuters.

With more than 4 million people in the Americas under threat, experts confirm that a "vaccine for the virus is months, if not, years away." It causes severe birth defects in babies, as thousands born with microcephaly have been reported in Brazil since October.

"We should all be worried about microcephaly," Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff stated.

Such babies are born with brain defects and extremely small heads linked to the virus.

"Most important, we need to set up surveillance sites in low- and middle-income countries so that we can detect any change in the reporting patterns of microcephaly at an early stage," said Dr. Anthoy Costello, WHO's director for maternal, child and adolescent health.

As Brazil is this year's Olympic Games host in Rio de Janeiro, fear of the virus dominated talks at a recent Olympic committee hearing, according to The New York Times.

In Asia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore have got into an overactive mode to fight off the mosquito.

"We are ramping up research, not just on Zika, but also on all other viruses in the mosquito vector such as dengue and chikungunya, and doing checks on carriers across the provinces gradually - this is related to entomology," said Dr. Oscar Primaldi from Indonesia, according to The Strait Times.

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