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Hong Kong Reports First Case of Zika Virus as Disease Begins to Spread in Asia

2 minute read

A woman in Hong Kong has been diagnosed with the Zika virus this week, in the global financial hub’s first case of the mosquito-borne disease that has spread rapidly across the Americas and parts of Africa over the past year.

The 38-year-old patient is currently isolated but in stable condition at a local hospital, the South China Morning Post reports. She had recently traveled to St. Barthelemy island in the Caribbean — one of the hotbeds of the mosquito-borne disease — and began showing symptoms like red eyes and joint pain on Saturday before testing positive five days later.

Zika, the current outbreak of which began in Brazil in 2015, causes a defect known as microcephaly (and possibly more) in children born to women with the disease.

Read next: Why You Should Care About Zika

The disease has spread rapidly across South and North America, including the U.S. In Asia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia and Malaysia have reported outbreaks of varying degrees, according to the World Health Organization. The Korea Times reported this week that South Korea too has confirmed 10 cases of the virus thus far.

Several measures are being taken in Hong Kong to prevent the disease spreading further, Reuters quoted an official from the city’s Department of Health as saying Thursday. The official added that the government’s priority is restricting the population of mosquitoes in the densely crowded subtropical city of over 7 million people.

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Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com