Florida's first case of sexually transmitted Zika virus was confirmed Wednesday by Gov. Rick Scott, who immediately called on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to host a second conference call with state health departments to discuss measures for preventing the spread of the infectious disease.
State health officials reported two new Zika virus cases in Polk County in Central Florida, including one that was sexually transmitted from an individual who had traveled outside the country.
Florida has the most confirmed cases of Zika virus in the nation, with 52 infections since Feb. 9 when the state began reporting them. All the cases were contracted by people traveling outside the country — until now.
In calling on the CDC to host a conference call with state health workers, Scott issued a written statement that read, in part, “It is imperative that the most up-to-date information is available so we can stay ahead of the possible spread of the Zika virus in Florida.”
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The CDC first warned on Feb. 12 that Zika could be transmitted by a man to his sex partners.
“Sexual transmission of Zika virus is possible, and is of particular concern during pregnancy,” said the advisory published by the nation’s top agency for combating infectious disease.
Pregnant women are considered to be at greatest risk from the virus because of a strongly suspected link between an outbreak of Zika in Brazil and a concurrent spike in microcephaly.
The CDC advises men who might have been exposed to Zika to consider abstaining or using a condom.
Zika is primarily transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquito bites, though spread of the virus also has been reported through blood transfusions.