Starting in Central and South America the Zika virus has now landed stateside. As of last week 31 cases had been confirmed in the U.S., with all of them being declared "travel-related." Zika, first thought of as a disease spread by mosquitoes, has now been spread through sexual contact.
The Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first non-travel-related U.S. Zika case in a statement reading: "A person who recently traveled to an area with Zika virus transmission returned to the United States and developed Zika-like symptoms. The person later tested positive for Zika, along with their sexual partner, who had not traveled to the area." According to the Dallas County Health and Human Services the one person had traveled to Venezuela. Neither of the people have been identified.
The CDC hasn't confirmed that Zika is transmittable through sex nor that it isn't. Reports have alleged the virus has spread through sex in the past with one Tahiti man's semen testing positive for the virus and another Colorado researcher becoming viral after traveling outside the U.S. passing it on to his wife in 2008 reports The Associated Press.
There is still no vaccine or medicine to fight Zika and so people, especially in affected areas, have been urged to avoid mosquitoes. People are now being advised to practice safe sex in light of the possibility of transmitting the Zika virus through sex. DCHHS director Zachary Thompson said, "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. Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections."
Pregnant women have been a group particularly advised to stay away from mosquitoes with Zika causing microcephaly, or a shrinking of the brain, in infants. This has raised questions, as Jezebel reports, as to whether or not countries where Zika cases have been detected and where abortion is illegal will change conservative stances on abortion despite the possibility of babies becoming infected.