South Africa diagnoses first case of Zika virus

Written by Hassan Isilow & Salman Hamid Siddiqui on . Posted in Health

South African minister urges citizens to remain calm since virus is rarely transmitted from human to human.

JOHANNESBURG (AA) - A Columbian businessman visiting Johannesburg has been diagnosed with the country's first Zika virus infection, South African Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said in a late Friday statement. Motsoaledi said the businessman showed symptoms of fever and a rash four days after arriving in the country. “The confirmation of this particular case poses no risk to the South African population as the virus is not transmitted from human to human but through the Aedes aegypti mosquito and or possibly from mother to the fetus in pregnant women,” the minister said.

He said that although the United States recently reported a case of the Zika virus being transmitted sexually, it is still regarded as a very rare occurrence. According to the statement, the businessman was diagnosed with the virus by a Private Johannesburg Pathology Laboratory. Motsoaledi said further tests were being carried out by the state run National Institute for Communicable Diseases. “The infection was acquired in Columbia prior to his visit to Johannesburg for business,” the minister said, adding the patient had now recovered.

Many countries in South America are experiencing a large outbreak of the Zika virus. The virus has been linked to microcephaly birth defects in babies.

“The Aedes mosquito that transmit the Zika virus in South America also transmit the dengue fever and yellow fever, but this viruses are not found in South Africa, indicating that the local Aedes mosquito does not contribute to the spread of the Zika virus,” Motsoaledi said. He said due to the frequency of travel between South Africa and a number of countries currently experiencing outbreaks of the Zika virus, it is likely that other sporadic imported cases will be seen as experienced in a number of other countries.

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