Zika is now officially an STI in the US

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito as she was in the process of obtaining a "blood meal" (credit: US Department of Health and Human Services)

Zika, the mosquito-spread virus sparking outbreaks across the Western Hemisphere and suspected of causing birth defects and neurological problems, has been transmitted through sexual contact in the United States, the Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) reported Tuesday.

A patient was infected via sexual contact with a person who had recently traveled to Venezuela, a country currently experiencing a Zika outbreak, the health department said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the sexual transmission. There is still no evidence that Zika is spreading in US mosquito populations.

“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,” Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director, said in a press release.

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