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Florida confirms its first sexually transmitted case of Zika in 2017

03 August 2017

The first sexually transmitted case of Zika in 2017 has been confirmed in Pinellas County according to the Florida Department of Health.

Officials believe the individual picked up the virus locally, because he had not traveled to a Zika-affected area recently.

Health officials are asking everyone to take precautions if you or your partner have traveled to any location where Zika is active.

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"If the department identifies an area where ongoing transmission of Zika is taking place, we will notify the public immediately", said officials.

Scientists believe that mosquito bites are the source of most Zika virus infections in people.

Zika can be spread from person to person through sexual intercourse, but it's been unclear whether the saliva of an infected person poses a threat to others.

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Zika virus is a flavivirus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which are found throughout much of the Americas and are also responsible for the transmission of dengue fever and chikungunya fever.

Most people only suffer mild symptoms when infected with Zika, but the virus has been linked to catastrophic birth defects in babies whose mothers were infected during pregnancy. This is the second confirmed sexually transmitted Zika case in the US. After infection, the Zika virus is present in blood and saliva for up to about two weeks, but it remains in bodily fluids like breast milk for weeks and semen for months.

The Florida Department of Health made the announcement Tuesday.

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The majority of the 118 reported cases of Zika infection in Florida during 2017 have been related to travel to infected areas. The Texas case is also the first local case in any state this year.

Florida confirms its first sexually transmitted case of Zika in 2017