First known sexual transmission of Zika virus in U.S. was in Colorado

Ricardo Mazalan, AP

The news out of Dallas in early February exploded around the world: Zika can be transmitted by sex.

Suddenly, a virus that wasn't supposed to be a game changer in the United States took on a whole new dimension. It spurred the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to add recommendations for safe sex to the already growing list of precautions needed to protect pregnant women from getting Zika and possibly infecting their unborn babies.

But here's what is most startling: The Dallas case wasn't unique. The first known case of sexually acquired Zika in the United States actually occurred eight years ago in northern Colorado after a husband and wife reunion.

The story of how microbiologist Brian Foy obtained Zika in Africa and passed it to his wife, Joy Chilson Foy, when he returned home reads like a detective novel: frozen blood, false leads, a clever clue from Africa and finally success -- laboratory proof that Foy had given a mosquito-borne virus to his wife during sex.

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