Zika has arrived in the United States.
The first case of the virus transmitted inside the country has been reported in Dallas, Texas, according to a local affiliate of the NBC televison network.
NBC5 in Dallas/Fort Worth said on its website that the case in Dallas County had been acquired through sexual contact.
Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services , said: “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.
“Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections.”
The development comes after Brazil vowed to spend whatever it takes to wipe out the virus.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said her government will not spare resources in combating the mosquito that transmits the Zika virus, that has been linked to thousands of cases of Brazilian newborns with brain damage.
Rousseff addressed Brazil’s Congress and said: “There will be no lack of funding.”
She also said Brazil and the United States will partner to develop a vaccine against Zika ‘as soon as possible’ to stem the spread of the pandemic.
Last night, the World Health Organisation declared that the Zika outbreak poses a global public health emergency.
Experts have said the spread of the virus requires an urgent, united response as the dangerous pathogen spreads rapidly across parts of South America.
WHO have warned that Zika has devastating consequences and said the virus is on the same scale as the Ebola pandemic.
The infection has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains, or ‘shrunken heads’.
There have already been around 4,000 reported cases of microcephaly – a condition that leads to babies being born with small brains – in Brazil alone since October.
It was reported in the country in May 2015 and has quickly spread to parts of the Americas.
Declaring the virus as a matter of international concern will mean that research and aid will be fast-tracked to the region.
Margaret Chan, WHO director general, said Zika is an “extraordinary event” that needs a coordinated response.
She added that priorities are to protect pregnant women and their babies from harm and to control the spreading of the virus through mosquitoes.
WHO officials have predicted that as many as four million people could be infected with the virus this year.
The last time a global emergency was declared was for the Ebola outbreak, which is thought to have led to more than 11,000 deaths.
Zika is spread by the Aedes mosquito and symptoms include fever, joint pain, conjunctivitis and rash.
via : dailyrecord – Health