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Zika Update: 16th Zika Virus Case in South Korea Confirmed

Nov 30, 2016 05:51 AM EST

The government of South Korea has confirmed that a new case of Zika virus infection has hit the country. The Asian country now has already reported a total of 16 cases of the infection since its first confirmed case back in March of this year.

The Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said the 46-year-old Korean male, who has been living in Vietnam since 2012, recently went to Seoul for a two-week vacation where he was infected by the mosquito-borne virus. The man was given proper treatment and has since returned to Vietnam, local health authorities told the Korean Yonhap news agency.

KCDC said 12 South Koreans carrying the birth-defect causing Zika virus have previously traveled to other neighboring Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The other four Zika-infected South Koreans also reportedly got the infection after recent trips to Central and South American countries, such as Brazil and Dominican Republic, an article by Korea Herald reports.

Zika virus is an infection usually transmitted by the Aedes mosquitoes, the same type of mosquitoes behind the spread of other mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. Like HIV, there is a great possibility that Zika virus infection can be passed on to others through sexual intercourse and blood transfusion.

Early symptoms include slight fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2 to 7 days. These symptoms may not be a cause for alarm to some.

However, based on a systematic review of the literature up to 30 May 2016, the World Health Organization has concluded that Zika virus infection in pregnant women can cause microcephaly, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and other abnormalities in the baby inside the mother's womb.

In September, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a travel advisory regarding Zika virus in Southeast Asian nations.

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