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First case of Zika virus confirmed in Hong Kong

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The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) last night confirmed that a 38-year-old expatriate woman living in Hong Kong has tested positive for Zika virus.

The patient, who had recently travelled to St Barthelemy in the Caribbean, sought medical help at the Matilda Medical Centre in Central on Tuesday after developing joint pain and suffering from red eyes. Samples taken tested positive for the virus yesterday.

The woman was moved to United Christian Hospital, where she is being cared for in an isolation unit. She is currently in a stable condition.

The CHP has launched an investigation into the case. In a statement yesterday, it urged the public to adopt strict anti-mosquito measures and take extra precautions when travelling abroad. Travellers who return from affected areas and feel unwell are advised to seek medical advice immediately.

Pregnant women and those preparing for pregnancy in particular are advised to avoid travelling to affected areas altogether, as the mosquito-borne virus is known to cause severe birth defects. It has also been linked to the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Zika virus is mainly transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, however sexual transmission has also been confirmed. Symptoms, which can be mild, include fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain and general malaise.

The infection, also known as Zika fever or Zika virus disease, first came to public attention following a widespread outbreak in Brazil in 2015.

A list of countries currently affected by Zika virus can be found on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s website.

For more information, click here.

Image: Wikipedia

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