Earlier today, we documented the rather extreme steps Brazil is taking in what has so far been a futile attempt to combat the rapid spread of the head-shrinking Zika virus.
There have been nearly 4,000 cases of microcephaly in Brazil since the start of last year and the WHO has now declared “a public health emergency of international concern.” For her part, President Dilma Rousseff signed a decree authorizing health officials to essentially break into Brazilians’ homes even if no one is home in an effort to uncover mosquitoe breeding grounds. As a reminder, the Aedes mosquito is taking the blame on this particular pandemic.
On Tuesday afternoon, we’re reminded that you don’t have to be bitten by a South American mosquito to get Zika as Dallas officials confirmed the first Zika virus case in Dallas County acquired through sexual contact.
"Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed the case Tuesday afternoon and said the patient was infected after having sexual contact with an ill individual who returned from a country where the virus is known to be present," NBC reports, adding that "Dallas County health officials said there are no reports of the Zika virus being transmitted locally by mosquitoes [but] imported cases of the virus make local spread possible.
“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, DCHHS director.
As NBC dryly notes, because there's no vaccine and there are no available treatments, your best bet is to "avoid mosquitoes" and abstain from having sex with the infected.
We wonder if Washington will soon follow in Brazil's footsteps and grant health officials the right to enter private property without obtaining a warrant in the course of hunting for mosquitoes.
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DALLAS (Feb. 2, 2016) – Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) has received confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the first Zika virus case acquired through sexual transmission in Dallas County in 2016. 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 does not provide additional identifying information.
“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, DCHHS director. “Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections.”
Zika virus is transmitted to people by mosquitoes and through sexual activity. The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week.
DCHHS advises individuals with symptoms to see a healthcare provider if they have visited an area where Zika virus is present or had sexual contact with a person who traveled to an area where Zika virus is present. There is no specific medication available to treat Zika virus and there is not a vaccine. The best way to avoid Zika virus is to avoid mosquito bites and to avoid sexual contact with a person who has Zika virus. “Education and awareness is crucial in preventing Zika virus,” said Dr. Christopher Perkins, DCHHS medical director/health authority. “Patients are highly encouraged to follow prevention recommendations to avoid transmitting and spreading Zika virus.” DCHHS recommends the following to avoid Zika virus: Use 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, and 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. Travelers can protect themselves by doing the following: Choose a hotel or lodging with air conditioning or screens on windows or doors. Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are outside or in a room that is not well-screened