South Carolina now has its first reported case of sexually transmitted Zika infection.
The state Department of Health and Environmental (DHEC) posted this week that the resident was infected with the virus after sexual contact with someone who got the virus during travel abroad.
While most Zika virus cases come through the bites of infected mosquitoes, it can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or birth, or through blood transfusions and sexual contact.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning pregnant women not to travel to tropical countries where transmission of the Zika virus is active. Researchers have linked infections with birth defects among the children of women who got the disease while pregnant.
Only about 1 in 5 people infected with Zika actually show symptoms. Symptoms can start about 3 to 7 days after infection. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). The first symptom is usually fever which may be associated with a rash. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Severe illness is uncommon.
To date, there have been six confirmed cases of Zika virus in South Carolina. None of the infections has occurred because of a mosquito bite in the state. None of the infected individuals has been pregnant.