France claims first case of Zika virus transmission through sex | News | DW | 27.02.2016
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France claims first case of Zika virus transmission through sex

A French health official says the country has seen its first case of the Zika virus being sexually transmitted. The non-pregnant woman is reported to have been infected by her companion after he returned from Brazil.

Heath Minister Marisol Touraine told the French news agency AFP that the case was detected several days ago in "a woman who is not pregnant."

Speaking during a visit to Guyana, Marisol said the couple live near Paris, and that the woman is "doing well."

An unnamed member of the minister's entourage said the woman "showed classic signs of the disease," adding, "she was not hospitalized."

Recorded cases on the up

Brazil has recorded 1.5 million cases of the Zika virus, making it the country hardest hit by the virus, which is thought to be transmitted by the Aedis aegypti mosquito.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says sexual transmission of the virus remains extremely rare.

Zika is like the flu

For most adults the Zika virus is a relatively minor discomfort, comparable to the flu. But at a time when Brazil has seen a huge spike in the number of Zika infections it has also seen a comparable rise in the number of cases of microcephaly in newborns.

Though it is yet to be proven, the suspicion is that pregnant women infected with the zika virus are transmitting the disease to the fetus, which is then manifesting itself as a congenital disease in the form of microcephaly.

The telltale sign of the disease in newborns is a shrunken head size and potential brain damage. The impact on newborns has created international alarm at a time when there is no cure for the virus.

Puerto Rico Zika Gefahr

Blood samples test for Zika at the US CDC

The outbreak also comes six months ahead of the Summer Olympics which are due to be held in Brazil. Pregnant women, or women planning to become pregnant, are being advised to avoid the summer games, as well as other tropical climates where the virus may flourish.

Some athletes, however, are also having doubts about attending the games, including US soccer player Hope Solo. She is unlikely to join her teammates for the Rio Olympic Games without more information about the dangers of the virus.

"Until I know more, I don't feel like I can make a really informative decision," she said in an interview on CBS' "This Morning" program.

"If things stood as they are right now, I probably would not go," she added.

bik/jlw (AFP, dpa, AP, Reuters)

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