Health

China confirms first case of Zika virus

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

The virus, which is causing international alarm after spreading through most 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.

The man had been quarantined at a hospital in his hometown since Feb. 6, Xinhua said, saying he was recovering with normal body temperature and a fading rash.

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

The World Health Organization declared an international health emergency on Feb. 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.

Most infected people have no symptoms or mild ones including fever and skin rashes.

The infected Chinese man had travelled to Venezuela and displayed symptoms including a fever, headache and dizziness on Jan 28, Xinhua said. He returned home on Feb. 5 via Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

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