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First case of sexually transmitted Zika virus reported in SC

A team of European researchers has unveiled the mechanism that mosquito-borne viruses use to infect the rest of the body, potentially causing greater sickness.
A team of European researchers has unveiled the mechanism that mosquito-borne viruses use to infect the rest of the body, potentially causing greater sickness. TNS

SC health officials reported the first case of sexually transmitted Zika infection in South Carolina.

The South Carolina resident was infected with the virus after sexual contact with someone who got the virus during travel abroad, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said Friday.

While the primary method of acquiring the Zika virus is from being bitten by a mosquito carrying it, it can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or during birth and through blood transfusions and sexual contact.

To date, there have been 6 confirmed cases of Zika virus in South Carolina. None of the infections has occurred because of a mosquito bite in the state. None of the infected individuals has been pregnant.

Because the Zika virus can be transmitted from a male sexual partner, the Centers for Disease Control says men with the virus should wait at least 6 months from first symptoms before attempting conception. If an infected man’s wife is pregnant, he should abstain from sex or use a condom. Men and women who may have been exposed to the Zika virus but don’t show any signs of illness should wait at least 8 weeks after exposure before trying to get pregnant.

About 1 in 5 people infected with the Zika virus becomes ill. Symptoms usually appear 3 to 7 days after infection and include fever rash, joint pain or red eye. These symptoms are usually mild and last from several days to a week.

There is still a lot that is not known about Zika virus infection during pregnancy. But, Zika infection in pregnant women has been associated with microcephaly and other birth defects. For this reason federal health officials recommend pregnant women not travel to areas where the Zika virus is prevalent.

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