Being bitten by a mosquito may not be the only way to contract the Zika virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first US Zika case in someone from Texas who had not traveled abroad during the current outbreak.
The Zika virus is carried by mosquitoes and has been linked to thousands of cases of microcephaly, babies being born with underdeveloped brains. However, if the virus can also be spread through sexual contact, then it poses a risk to every country. Not just the countries infested with these mosquitoes.
The victim, a woman from Dallas County, Texas, was infected through sexual contact with someone who had recently returned from Venezuela. The CDC confirmed that the victim's test results showed the Zika virus present in the blood.
"Until we know more, if your male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area with active Zika virus transmission, you should abstain from sex or use condoms the right way every time you have vaginal, anal, and oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy," the CDC updated in its Zika virus guidance for pregnant women.
According to the CDC, symptoms associated with the Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. The symptoms typically occur two to seven days after the person had been bitten by a mosquito, and affects one in five infected people. If a woman is pregnant, the virus can be transmitted to the fetus as well. Studies are being planned to learn more about the risks of the virus during pregnancy.
In additional to this recent case, there have been very few cases in the past that have suggested Zika may have been transmitted through sexual contact.
One case showed the Zika virus present in semen and urine samples of a man in French Polynesia, but the virus was not present in the blood sample, according to CNN. In another case, a man contracted the virus while traveling abroad and his wife later came down with the disease after his return, although she had not left northern Colorado and had not been exposed to Zika-infected mosquitoes.
Although these cases suggest a link between the Zika virus and sexual contact, evidence is still limited and the CDC has not issued a public warning about the risks, yet.