Another first

Zika mystery baffles doctors after caregiver became infected with virus

(LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images)

An elderly patient in Utah made headlines earlier this month when he became the first American within the continental U.S. to die with the Zika virus. He also did something else that health officials previously hadn’t seen: Passed the virus on to another person without sexual contact. That transmission has doctors baffled as, until now, it’s been thought that Zika is only communicable through a mosquito bite or via sexual contact. On Friday, the first known case of a female infecting a male through sexual intercourse was documented by health officials in New York City.

Doctors say neither of those transmission routes were the culprit in the Utah case. Health officials there have released limited information on the patient out of privacy concerns. They said the patient, who has now recovered, did not travel to a country where Zika is known to be an epidemic and they described the contact between the patient and the deceased patient as “family contact” that came in a caregiving scenario.

“The new case in Utah is a surprise, showing that we still have more to learn about Zika,” said Dr. Erin Staples, an epidemiologist with the CDC who’s assisting in the investigation. Utah officials stressed there isn’t cause for concern yet about a new manner of transmission, and that they are testing mosquitoes in the area to see if any might be carrying the virus.

Read the full story at NBC News.


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