First case of the Zika virus reported in Texas

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, the first case of the Zika virus has been reported in the US by a Texan who contracted it through sexual intercourse. A Dallas County health official said that the patient recently had sexual contact with someone from Venezuela who had been infected by the mosquito- borne virus. In a statement the CDC said it had tested the blood and the Zika virus appeared to be present in a “non-traveller in the continental United States.” However they emphasised that there was no risk whatsoever of a developing foetus contracting the disease at present.

CDC Director Tom Frieden  in an interview with CNN said: "There have been isolated cases of spread through blood transfusion or sexual contact and that's not very surprising. The virus is in the blood for about a week. How long it would remain in the semen is something that needs to be studied and we're working on that now." The CDC says that it will provide guidance on the sexual transmission of the virus, with a special "focus on the male sexual partners of women who may or may not be pregnant."

He said that although research surrounding the spread of the virus through sexual intercourse is a more complicated process, the CDC will continue to expore avenues of doing so. Frieden said: "What we know is the vast majority of spread is going to be from mosquitoes, the bottom line is mosquitoes are the real culprit here.Sexual partners can protect each other by using condoms to prevent spreading sexually transmitted infections. People who have Zika virus infection can protect others by preventing additional mosquito bites."

Global fears surrounding the spread of the virus is heightened as a result of babies who have been born with a neurological birth disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome that lead to paralysis. Babies have also been reported to have been born with abnormally small heads- a condition known as microcephaly in both Brazil and French Polynesia.

Zika virus