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Zika Utah Mystery: Sex-Less, Mosquito-Less Transmission

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By    |   Tuesday, 19 Jul 2016 08:30 AM

Zika in Utah has sparked a mystery: An individual who cared for a deceased man with the virus now has been diagnosed with it as well, reported the Salt Lake Tribune, but without being exposed in any of the known ways.

Salt Lake County health officials said the second individual had not traveled to a Zika-infected area or had sex with anyone who had traveled to the area, leaving experts stumped. Authorities said there is no evidence that the mosquito species known for spreading the virus is in Utah, said the Tribune.

"This case ... is unusual," said Gary Edwards, the county Health Department's executive director. "At this point, we don't know if the contact between the new case and the deceased patient played any role in the transmission of the disease."

The county health department Facebook page said representatives with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are assisting in the investigation of the case.

"Our knowledge of this virus continues to evolve and our investigation is expected to help us better understand how this individual became infected," said Dr. Angela Dunn, deputy state epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health. "Based on what we know so far about this case, there is no evidence that there is any risk of Zika virus transmission among the general public in Utah." 

The investigation will center on how the individual, the eighth person in Utah to be diagnosed with the virus, became infected after having contact with the deceased patient who had a "uniquely high amount of virus in the blood."

The Salt Lake County man who died in June was elderly and his cause of death was unknown, health officials told the Tribune. They said, though, that the Zika virus contributed to his death.

The CDC said the Utah investigation will include interviews and laboratory testing of family members and health care workers who may have had contact with the deceased person, along with trapping local mosquitoes and assessing the risk of additional infections.

"The new case in Utah is a surprise, showing that we still have more to learn about Zika," said Dr. Erin Staples, the CDC's medical epidemiologist in Utah. "Fortunately, the patient recovered quickly, and from what we have seen with more than 1,300 travel-associated cases of Zika in the continental United States and Hawaii, non-sexual spread from one person to another does not appear to be common."

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Zika in Utah has sparked a mystery: An individual who cared for a deceased man with the virus now has been diagnosed with it as well, but without being exposed in any of the known ways.
zika, utah, mystery
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2016-30-19
Tuesday, 19 Jul 2016 08:30 AM
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