Zika virus: Chile reports its first sexually transmitted case

The virus was contracted by a 46-year-old woman after having unprotected sex with her partner

Chile has discovered its first case of sexually transmitted Zika, according to the country’s health ministry.

The virus was contracted by a 46-year-old woman after having unprotected sex with her partner, who was initially infected with it in Haiti.

The ministry said in a statement on its website: "This is the first documented case of Zika virus through sexual transmission in mainland Chile, where there is no presence of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the disease."

"To date, we have confirmed 10 cases of Zika contracted abroad and reported in the country, including eight in 2016.

“Most Zika virus infections are asymptomatic. Men and women returning from areas where there is Zika should consider adopting safe sex or abstain from sexual activity at least four weeks after return. In the case of pregnant women this care must be for the entire period of pregnancy.

Mosquitoes that transmit the virus are not found on mainland Chile, but the Aedes aegypti mosquito has been discovered on the remote Easter Island in the Pacific, which is under the country’s control. The health ministry previously said there is no danger of the virus spreading onto the mainland.

There is growing evidence that suggests a link between Zika and microcephaly in babies, a condition that can cause unusually small heads and other developmental problems.

In Brazil, nearly 5000 cases of microcephaly have been reported, and Zika is the suspected cause of it.

The World Health Organization declared an international health emergency over the apparent link last month, and warned that it could infect four million people.

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