calls for further investigation into sexual spread of
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[February 03, 2016]
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health
Organization (WHO) voiced concern on Wednesday over a report that the
Zika virus had been sexually transmitted in the United States and called
for further investigation into the mosquito-borne virus linked to birth
The first known case of Zika virus transmission in the United States
was reported in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday by local health officials,
who said it likely was contracted through sex and not a mosquito
"We certainly understand the concern. This needs to be further
investigated to understand the conditions and how often or likely
sexual transmission is, and whether or not other body fluids are
implicated," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told Reuters.
"This is the only the second mooted case of sexual transmission," he
said, referring to media reports about a case of an American man who
returned from Senegal and is suspected of infecting his wife.
The virus, linked to babies born with abnormally small heads and
birth defects in Brazil, is spreading rapidly in the Americas and
the WHO declared an international public health emergency on Monday
about the condition known as microcephaly.
The WHO global response team will discuss the sexual transmission
report among other issues at its daily meeting later on Wednesday,
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"There are many things we don't know about Zika," he said. "Lots of
surveillance is needed...We have our team set up and are sure there
will be lots of progress quickly."
For now the key in infected areas is to try to control mosquitos and
for people to wear adequate clothing, use insect repellent and sleep
under bednets, Hartl said.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Toby Chopra and Dominic
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