First Zika case confirmed in South Africa

Johannesburg, Feb 20 (IANS) South African health authorities on Friday confirmed the first Zika case involving a Colombian businessman.

The businessman who visited Johannesburg has been diagnosed with Zika by a private Johannesburg pathology laboratory, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

At the moment the South Africa National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) is busy conducting confirmatory tests, according to the minister.

The businessman was in South Africa for four days when he went to see his doctor because of fever and rash, but now he is fully recovered, Motsoaledi said.

“This infection was acquired in Colombia before he visited Johannesburg,” Motsoaledi was quoted by Xinhua news agency.

“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 foetus in pregnant women,” Motsoaledi said.

The virus is causing international alarm after spreading 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 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.

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

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