19 February 2016

The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi says a Columbian businessman visiting Johannesburg was diagnosed with the Zika virus infection by a Private Johannesburg Pathology Laboratory.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases ( NICD) confirmed the diagnosis.

The businessman presented with fever and a rash approximately 4 days after arrival in South Africa but is now fully recovered.

The infection was acquired in Columbia prior to his visit to Johannesburg for business.
Columbia is currently experiencing a large outbreak of 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 mosquitoe and or possibly from mother to the foetus in pregnant women. However, a case of sexual transmission was recently reported in the US but is still regarded to be very rare”, Motsoaledi said.

The virus is present in the blood of a patient for a very short time, typically less than 7 days and therefore poses no danger. A person carrying this virus in the blood will have to be bitte by a correct sub-type of an Aedes aegypti mosquito within this period for the virus to be transmitted to the next person through a bite by the same mosquito.

The Aedes mosquito that transmit the Zika virus in South America also transmit the dengue fever and yellow fever, but this viruses are not found in South Africa, indicating that the local Aedes mosquito does not contribute to the spread of the Zika virus.

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 travellers as has been the experience in a number of countries.

Article from: NICD Alerts Page www.nicd.ac.za