5th case of Zika virus confirmed in S. Korea

By on May 12, 2016


Mosquito carrying Zika Virus (Shutterstock photo)
Mosquito carrying Zika Virus (Shutterstock photo)

SEOUL—The fifth case of Zika virus infection in South Korea has been found in a 39-year-old man who recently came back from a business trip to the Philippines, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said Wednesday.

The man visited Batangas, some 100 kilometers south of Manila, on April 27 and entered South Korea on May 4.

He visited a hospital in Samcheok, some 290 km east of Seoul, on Monday after having a rash, and joint and muscle pains. He was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus there.

The KCDC suspects he might have been bitten by a mosquito while in the Southeast Asian country.

The latest case raised the number of confirmed infections in South Korea to five — one from Brazil, one from Vietnam and three from the Philippines. All of them had mosquito bites during their trip.

A total of 47 countries mostly in South America and Southeast Asia reported at least one confirmed Zika case over the last two months as of last week, according to the KCDC.

Zika is a virus that is primarily spread by mosquito bites, particularly risky for pregnant women as it is thought to be linked to a rare birth defect- microcephaly that causes newborn babies to have unusually small heads and damaged brains.

The Zika virus is believed not to be spread by ordinary touches between humans, but it can be transmitted through sex and blood transfusion. Cases of sexual transmission from travelers to their sexual partners had been reported from the United States and Europe.

The KCDC advised pregnant women not to travel to Zika-infected countries, while recommending fertile women delay pregnancy for at least two months after returning from those countries.

Zika was first found in Africa and spread to Asia and Lain America. The virus is spreading rapidly in Latin America, while Thailand and the Philippines are the most Zika-infected countries in Asia.

Months ahead of the Brazil Summer Olympics, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus outbreak a global emergency.