Zika in China: First case reported in man returning from Venezuela

Zika has been linked to microcephaly, a condtion which causes babies to be born with 'shrunken' heads 

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China's first case of the Zika virus has been found in a 34-year-old man who recently travelled to Venezuela.

The man, from the southern city of Ganzhou, was treated in Venezuela on January 28 before returning home on 5 February via Hong Kong and the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said.

The commission said he had been confirmed as having the virus on Tuesday and was being treated at the Ganxian People's Hospital. His temperature was now normal and a skin rash was receding, it added.

It said the chances of the virus spreading in China were “extremely low” due to cold winter temperatures and a lack of mosquito activity, the primary avenue by which Zika spreads.


A chart made for The Independent by Statista showing where Zika has spread around the world

The Zika virus is spreading rapidly through Latin America. Most people who contract it have either mild or no symptoms, but it is suspected of causing a birth defect that results in babies born with abnormally small heads.

Bernhard Schwartlander, the World Health Organisation representative in Beijing, said imported cases of Zika in China are to be expected given the frequency of travel between the country and South America.

“Chinese health authorities are well prepared to respond to this and any further imported cases,” Mr Schwartlander said in a statement issued by his office.

“The current risk of a widespread outbreak of Zika virus in China is low.”

Press Association