South Africa Confirms First Case Of Zika Virus

The Health Minister of South Africa, Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed on Friday that a Colombian business man visiting South Africa has been diasgnosed with the Zika virus.

“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,” the Minister said.

“A case of sexual transmission was recently reported in the US but is still regarded as very rare.”

The Colombian business man was diagnosed of the virus by a private pathology laboratory in Johannesburg. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases is currently performing a test to confirm the virus.

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The Minister’s spokesman, Mr Joe Maila who believes the business man contracted the disease in Columbia said the man had some of the symptoms of the virus, including a fever and rash , some four days following his arrival in the country, but he is now fully recovered.

“The infection was acquired in Colombia prior to his visit to Johannesburg for business. Colombia is experiencing a large outbreak of the Zika virus.”

He also explained that the virus is only present in the blood of a patient for a short period, usually not longer than 7 days. Likewise he noted that although the aedes mosquito which spreads the Zika virus also spreads the dengue fever and yellow fever, both of which are not common in South Africa.

“The Aedes mosquito that transmits the Zika virus in South America also transmits dengue fever and yellow fever, but these viruses are not found in South Africa, indicating that the local Aedes mosquito does not contribute to the spread of the Zika virus,” Maila said.

“Given the frequency of travel between South Africa and a number of countries currently experiencing outbreaks of the Zika virus, it is likely that other sporadic imported cases will be seen here in travelers as has been the experience in a number of countries.”

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