Person in the UK 'infected with Zika virus through sexual transmission'

Updated: 

A person in the UK is thought to have been infected with the Zika virus through sexual transmission, health officials have said.

Public Health England (PHE) said that one case of "likely sexual transmission" of Zika virus infection has been reported in the UK.

Meanwhile, of the 265 travel-associated cases reported in Britain, seven have been diagnosed in pregnant women, PHE said.

mosquito on finger (mirceax/Thinkstock)
(mirceax/Thinkstock)

PHE said the case of sexually transmitted Zika virus was identified in a woman whose partner had recently visited an affected region. She has since made a full recovery, PHE said.

The mosquito-borne disease has been linked to a birth defect called microcephaly, which results in children with abnormally small heads and brain damage.

The mosquito that transmits the virus is not found in the UK so risk to the wider British public is deemed to be negligible by health leaders.

a photograph of a child with microcephaly (Felipe Dana/AP)
(Felipe Dana/AP)

Of the 265 British travellers identified as being infected with the virus, the majority of cases - 190 - are associated with travel to the Caribbean, according to the figures from Public Health England.

Health officials advise that men who visit affected areas should use condoms for six months following their return.

Women should avoid getting pregnant for at least two months after leaving an area deemed to have "high or moderate" risk of Zika virus transmission.