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Woman found to spread Zika virus through sex for first time

NEW YORK -- A New York City woman has infected her male partner with Zika virus through sex, the first time female-to-male transmission of the illness has been documented.

Zika is usually spread by mosquitoes, and health officials have known for some time that men can spread it through sex.

Zika and sex: New research and avoiding the risk 03:51

In most people, the Zika virus causes only a mild illness, and often there are no symptoms at all. But infection during pregnancy can lead to severe brain-related birth defects in the baby.

The New York woman was not pregnant.

The CDC said the woman and her partner had unprotected intercourse the day she returned from travel to a country where Zika is spreading. The disease is widespread in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The following day, the woman developed fever, fatigue, a rash, muscle and joint pain, and other symptoms and went to the doctor. Blood and urine tests confirmed she was infected with Zika.

The CDC reports her partner, who had not traveled to the region, developed symptoms about a week later and also tested positive for Zika.

The new finding prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update its advice in a report issued Friday. The CDC now advises pregnant women to use protection if their sex partner has traveled to a Zika-infected region, whether the partner is a man or a woman.

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