SANTIAGO – The Chilean government confirmed on Saturday the nation’s first case of sexually transmitted Zika virus.
The Health Ministry said in a statement that the female patient is the 46-year-old partner of a man who caught the Zika virus in Haiti.
“This is the first documented case of a sexually transmitted Zika virus in continental Chile, where the carrier of the disease, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, does not exist,” the ministry said.
The medical exams that confirmed the contagion though sexual contact were performed by the laboratory at the Universidad Catolica.
Up to now, some 10 Zika cases have been confirmed in Chile among people who were infected abroad.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits Zika and other diseases such as Chikungunya and dengue fever, does not inhabit continental Chile, only Easter Island, more than 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) from the country’s South American coastline.
The Zika virus is currently found in most countries of the Americas, and though it causes only slight symptoms among the greater part of those infected, the great fear is its probable relation to cases of microcephaly and the Guillain Barre neurological syndrome.