Florida confirms sexually transmitted Zika case, first of 2017

Image courtesy OneBlood

Florida is reporting the state's first case of sexually transmitted Zika virus this year.

The newly identified infection is classified as travel-associated as the infected individual's partner recently traveled to Cuba and experienced symptoms indicative of Zika infection, which can include fever, rash and conjunctivitis. Both of them later tested positive for Zika. The person's partner, who had not traveled, also tested positive. "The department notified mosquito control, and appropriate mosquito reduction activities are taking place", the Department of Health said.

The health officials of the southeasternmost US state have announced that the total number of Zika viruses in Florida this year is up to 118. Traps were set at five locations throughout the county in June searching for the Asian tiger mosquito, the species most known to carry the virus. They discovered that if you add monkey saliva to the virus you reduce the ability of the virus to infect cells.

In late 2015, the Caribbean confirmed its first case of the Zika virus, followed by a dramatic increase in 2016. Infection during pregnancy can lead to severe brain-related birth defects.

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"For other states, particularly here in the south where we have mosquito populations where this is some risk of local transmission".

The Florida Department of Health announced in a statement Tuesday that the case was reported in Pinellas County.

Last week, Texas health officials reported a Zika infection likely contracted through a mosquito bite in recent months. This case study highlights the importance of using condoms during sexual intercourse after visiting a Zika-infected area in addition to using mosquito repellents and barriers.

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