China’s first Zika patient was discharged from hospital today, nearly a week after a man was diagnosed with the virus after he returned from Venezuela amid mounting fears over the fast-spreading mosquito-borne disease that has been linked to severe birth defects.
China confirmed its first imported case of Zika in the 34-year-old man from the Ganxian County in Jiangxi Province on February 9.
The man developed a fever, headache and dizziness on January 28 in Venezuela, before returning to his hometown on February 5 via Hong Kong and Shenzhen, state-run Xinhua news agency said.
He had been quarantined and treated in a Ganxian hospital since February 6 and now he has fully recovered after the treatment, the provincial health and family planning commission said in a statement today.
The health commission had earlier said that he posed an extremely low risk of spreading the virus.
It had said that the virus is highly unlikely to spread in China due to low winter temperatures and a lack of mosquito activity, the primary avenue by which Zika spreads.
While Zika causes only mild flu-like symptoms in most people, it is strongly suspected of a rapid rise in the number of children born with microcephaly—abnormally small heads and brains—to mothers infected during pregnancy.
The virus is spread by mosquitoes and the current outbreak has affected 34 countries, including 26 countries in the Americas, according to the WHO.
Brazil has been most affected by the outbreak that has spread rapidly through Latin America and the Caribbean, with 1.5 million people in the country infected since early 2015.