SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — State health officials have confirmed the first case of Zika virus acquired through sexual contact with an infected partner in the state and said, so far its men who do the spreading, not women.
In a statement released to the public by the California Department of Public Health officials Friday, they explain:
READ MORE: Atmospheric River: Parts of San Mateo County Pummeled with Heavy Rain, Flooding
“A man infected with Zika virus can spread it to his sexual partners. It is not known how long after infection a man can spread Zika virus to sexual partners. At this time, there is no evidence that women can transmit Zika virus to their sexual partners.”
Dr. Karen Smith, director and state public health officer at the CDPH, announced Friday that this first confirmed case was not transmitted through a mosquito bite, but rather through sexual contact with a Zika-infected partner who had returned from a country where the Zika virus was circulating.
The woman who was infected in California had not traveled out of the country, but had sexual contact with a man who had traveled to where the virus was present and contracted it there.
The infected woman, who was not pregnant, and her infected partner have fully recovered, state health officials said.
Dr. Smith had a message to sexually active people in California:
“If your partner has traveled to an area where Zika is present, protecting yourself by abstaining from sex or using condoms during sex is the best way to prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus.”
She recommends pregnant women be especially careful and either abstain from sex altogether or diligently use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy.READ MORE: UPDATE: Atmospheric River Drenches Northern California With Historic Rainfall
Men who have traveled to an area where the Zika virus is circulating are urged to either abstain from sex or use condoms, especially with a partner who is pregnant, for the duration of the pregnancy, or with a woman who is trying to become pregnant.
Health officials are reminding people that these cautions apply to vaginal, anal and oral sex.
Since the Zika virus can be spread from a woman to her child during pregnancy, and the infection is believed to lead to neurological complications in the infant, women who are trying to get pregnant with someone who is infected with the virus are urged to speak with a health care provider and learn about the serious risks before having unprotected sex.
Babies infected with the virus are believed to contract microcephaly, a birth defect in which the baby is born with abnormal brain development and a smaller-than-normal head.
While there is no specific treatment for the Zika virus, according to health officials, symptoms, which don’t always develop have been identified. They often include fever, rash, joint pain and eye redness. Health officials said the remedy includes rest, fluids and medications for relief of fever.
So far the type of mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus have been detected in 12 California counties, but no local mosquito-borne transmissions of the virus have been yet to be reported in the state, health officials said Friday.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Streets Flood in San Rafael, Mill Valley as Wild Storm Lashes Bay Area
By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.