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Taiwanese man contracts Zika after attending wedding in Vietnam

Sunday, September 18, 2016, 14:47 GMT+7

A Taiwanese man has been found positive for the Zika virus after visiting Vietnam, the Vietnamese General Department of Preventive Medicine announced Tuesday.

The case is a 63-year-old male Taiwanese who was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease in Taiwan on September 12, the department said.

The patient developed symptoms on September 6 after attending a wedding in the southern province of Tra Vinh from August 28 to September 4.

He was admitted to a hospital in Taiwan on September 8 and was found being infected with the virus.

According to Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control, during the viremic period, his primary areas of activities include places around his house and workplace.

The Tra Vinh Department of Health has implemented various preventive measures. Currently, none have developed suspected symptoms in the area.

The preventive medicine department under Vietnam’s Ministry of Health said on Thursday that the female patient who also tested positive for Zika in Japan on September 9 is a German citizen, not Vietnamese as it was previously announced on September 13.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, the patient was bitten by a mosquito in Vietnam on September 5 and later showed symptoms including skin rashes, a high fever, muscle and joint pain, and headaches before traveling to Japan.

The woman, residing in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, has fully recovered and has returned to Vietnam, the preventive medicine department added. 

The health ministry has also directed local health authorities to enact preventive measures and monitor the area the patient lives to prevent any disease outbreak.

Vietnam has confirmed five Zika cases since March this year, including the two mentioned, a 27-year-old man from the south-central province of Phu Yen on August 3, and two women in the central beach city of Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City in late March.

According to the General Department of Preventive Medicine, the Zika virus in Vietnam is less infectious and less likely to cause microcephaly than its counterpart in the Americas.

Zika is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms including a mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or a headache that normally last for two to seven days, the WHO said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on its website that the virus can be transmitted via two species of mosquitoes, the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus, both infamous for spreading dengue, chikungunya, and other known viruses.

According to the WHO, there is scientific consensus that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly in infants, a birth defect characterized by unusually small heads that can result in developmental problems, and Guillain-Barré syndrome – a neurological disorder that could lead to paralysis and death.

Links to other neurological complications are also being investigated, the WHO added.

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