NATIONAL

Second Zika case confirmed in Korea

By Claire Lee
  • Published : Apr 28, 2016 - 16:30
  • Updated : Apr 30, 2016 - 14:33

South Korea’s health authorities confirmed the nation’s second Zika virus case on Wednesday night, identifying the patient as a 20-year-old man who lives in Nowon-gu, Seoul.

According to the Health Ministry, the patient visited the Philippines from April 10-14, where infected mosquitoes bit him. He was asymptomatic until April 20, when he developed mild, cold-like symptoms including fever. He visited a local clinic in Seoul that day, but his doctor did not see him as a potential Zika virus patient.

Yonhap
He visited a general hospital on April 23, as he started experiencing skin rashes. Medical staff at the hospital reported him as a suspected Zika virus patient the same day. His test results, which became available Wednesday, turned out to be positive. He is currently in a stable condition and has been hospitalized for more examinations. State epidemiologists are also investigating the case.

South Korea reported its first Zika virus case last month -- a 43-year-old man who was bitten by infected mosquitoes during his visit to Brazil from Feb.17-March 9. Just like the second patient, he also experienced skin rashes on top of mild symptoms such as fever and muscle pain.

Currently, all doctors nationwide have been asked by the Health Ministry to report any patient who has visited a Zika virus-affected country and has any of the following symptoms: fever, muscle pain, headache or conjunctivitis. Health authorities plan to include skin rashes to the list as both reported patients suffered this symptom, the ministry said.

The World Health Organization in February issued a worldwide warning that the Zika virus is a global public health emergency that requires a united response. According to the agency, the infection is known to cause cases of microcephaly, in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.

By Claire Lee  (dyc@heraldcorp.com)