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State sees first case of sexually transmitted Zika virus

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Oregon has its first case of Zika virus that was transmitted through sexual contact.

Oregon health officials reported Friday, Feb. 26, that the illness was spread from a man who traveled in a Zika-affected country to his female partner, who had not traveled. Both people later tested positive for Zika.

“Though mosquito bites appear to be the most common way Zika is spread, there is increasing evidence for sexual transmission as well,” says Dr. Richard Leman, an Oregon Health Authority public health physician. “People who have been in Zika-affected areas in the previous two weeks and develop symptoms suggesting Zika should see their health care provider. CDC advises men with pregnant sex partners to use condoms or abstain from sex for the duration of pregnancy.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control is investigating more than a dozen possible cases of sexual transmission of Zika in the United States. It is spread mostly by mosquitos.

According to state health officials, Zika often doesn’t cause serious illness, with most people showing no symptoms of the virus, which include fever, rash, joint pain and eye redness.

The disease has been linked to serious birth defects in babies born to women infected during pregnancy. Zika also may increase the risk of Guillan-Barre Syndrome, which causes muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis.

More information about Zika can be found at www.healthoregon.org/zika.