China Confirms First Case of Zika Virus

The virus has been spreading rapidly throughout the Americas, prompting emergency health warnings from the WHO.

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Health News
1 min read
The WHO says the Zika virus could infect three to four million people in the Americas. (Photo: AP)

China has confirmed its first case of the Zika virus in a man who recently travelled to South America, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The virus, which is causing international alarm after spreading through much of the Americas, was detected in a 34-year-old man from Ganxian county in the eastern province of Jiangxi, Xinhua said, citing China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Chinese health authorities downplayed the risk of the mosquito-borne virus spreading because of the winter cold, Xinhua added.

Hong Kong’s Port Health Office has stepped up inspections at the airport in response and reinforced training for boundary control inspectors, the statement​ added.

There is a risk that Zika could be spread locally if it was introduced in Hong Kong, the statement said, because the Aedes Albopictus mosquitos which transmits the virus lives there. But no case of the virus has been reported in Hong Kong so far, it said.

The infected man has been quarantined at a hospital in his hometown since February 6, Xinhua said, adding that he was recovering.

Zika has spread quickly in South and Central America and the Caribbean, with Brazil being the worst affected country.

The World Health Organization declared an international health emergency on February 1 over the virus, citing concern over a possible link with a rise in cases of microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by an abnormally small head that can result in developmental problems.

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