By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The first known case of Zika virus transmission in the United States was reported in Texas on Tuesday by local health officials, who said it likely was contracted through sex and not a mosquito bite, a day after the World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency. The virus, linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is spreading rapidly in the Americas, and WHO officials on Tuesday expressed concern that it could hit Africa and Asia as well. Zika had been thought to be spread by the bite of mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, so sexual contact as a mode of transmission would be a potentially alarming development.
By Jeffrey Dastin and Malathi Nayak NEW YORK (Reuters) - Expectant couples planning "babymoon" vacations are increasingly steering clear of Latin America and the Caribbean amid warnings about a suspected link between a Zika virus outbreak in the region and birth defects, travel agents say. “There’s been a lot of cancellations,” said Lauren Machowsky, a travel advisor at New York-based SmartFlyer. “Some people are freaked out." Machowsky, who is herself expecting a child and called off a planned vacation to Anguilla, said she is redirecting a lot of people to Florida and pointing clients to travel warnings issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama was set on Wednesday to make his first visit to a U.S. mosque, a trip the White House said was aimed at countering rhetoric from Republicans on the presidential campaign trail exploiting some Americans' fears about Muslims. In the trip to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, Obama wants to highlight the American right to freedom of religion for all, including Muslims, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Health officials on Tuesday reported that a person in Texas has become infected with the Zika virus through sex in the first case of the illness being transmitted within the United States amid the current outbreak in Latin America.