June 10, 2016 10:45 PM

A University of Pittsburgh researcher became infected with the Zika virus after accidentally sticking herself with a needle while working with the virus in a laboratory, health officials reported Thursday.

The woman stuck herself with a needle on May 23 and began experiencing symptoms of the virus, including a fever, nine days later, CNN reports. The symptoms subsided and the woman who has not been identified was able to return to work on Monday.

On Wednesday, the university received test results confirming that the researcher had been infected with the virus that is known to cause severe birth defects and other serious health issues.

Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County Health Department said the woman no longer has symptoms and is doing well.

“This is a unique case in that the individual has not traveled to an affected area, nor was she infected through sexual transmission,” the ACHD said in a statement.

Nearly all of the individuals infected with Zika in continental United States were infected with the virus while traveling to areas outside the U.S. There are 11 confirmed cases of Zika infection among U.S. residents who had not traveled to areas where the virus is spreading but whose sexual partners had.

The Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. In order for the woman to spread the virus, an Aedes mosquito would have to bite her, incubate the virus for several days and then bite another person, Amesh Adalja, a senior associate the Center for Health Security at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center told USA Today.

The woman has agreed to wear long sleeves, pants and insect repellant for three weeks to prevent possible spread of the virus, the university said. According to the CDC, this is the first time that a U.S. lab worker has been infected with the Zika virus during the current outbreak.

You May Like