Looks Like Zika Virus Is Now An STD Transmitted Through Sex Along With Mosquito Infection

By now you've no doubt heard of the slightly terrifying Zika virus, transmitted by the Aedes mosquito it's been sweeping across Brazil and South America and is thought to be the cause behind thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains, and the Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare condition that causes the immune system to attack nerves.

It is giving people in the USA and Europe worrying thoughts of the 'new Ebola', but up to now it's probably not bothered you too much because it's all happening in South America and just like Ebola, there never really was a threat of it getting to our home shores, so it isn't going to be a worry for you anytime soon, right?

Well actually that's not the case anymore i'm afraid.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently declared it an international public health emergency and now there's a case of infection in Dallas, Texas being occuring through sex.

The person who had the infection hadn't traveled to South America themselves but their boyfriend had recently returned from Venezuela. According to NBC DFW:

Dallas County Health and Human Services said the patient was infected after having sexual contact with an individual who developed symptoms after returning from a trip to Venezuela. The individual from Venezuela is also infected with the virus. Both patients have fully recovered from the infection, health officials said Wednesday.

The Dallas County Health and Human Services director Zachary Thompson said that now it's known it can be transmitted through sex, next to abstinence wearing a condom is the most effective way to prevent any STDs spreading.

Although it's an alarming development it's also worth remembering that, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for most people the symptoms are mild and can last from two to seven days. They include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Although, Thompson also notes the concern is that 80% of people diagnosed do not show any symptoms, so prevention methods are crucial.

For pregnant women (in any trimester), it's thought it may cause a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly, meaning the baby's head is smaller than other babies of a similar age.

zika-virus-740x370
Zika virus and an Aedes mosquito

Women in the heavily infected areas like Brazil have been told to avoid getting pregnant and pregnant women in Dallas or the US should avoid traveling to Latin America or endemic countries with the Zika virus.

If you are showing any of the symptoms, or have had unprotected sex with someone who's displaying those symptoms, the advice is to seek medical care ASAP, avoid any more unprotected sex and protect yourself as much as possible from mosquito bites.

Currently there's no medication to treat the Zika virus and no vaccine has been developed yet. The best prevention for getting infected is avoiding mosquito bites, avoiding the heavily infected countries (especially if pregnant), and avoid having unprotected sex with anyone who's visited a heavily infected country.

You can learn more about the Zika virus and prevention advice on the CDC's website.