No need to panic over Zika virus - health dept

2016-02-20 12:20
Mosquitos are seen in containers at a lab of the SIU (Sede de Investigacion Universitaria) of the Antioquia University, on January 25, 2016 in Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia. (Luis Robayo, AFP)

Mosquitos are seen in containers at a lab of the SIU (Sede de Investigacion Universitaria) of the Antioquia University, on January 25, 2016 in Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia. (Luis Robayo, AFP)

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Johannesburg - The Department of Health on Saturday said there was no need to panic over the Zika virus.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Friday announced that a Colombian businessman, who is visiting the country, was diagnosed with the virus.

The businessman was diagnosed by a private Johannesburg pathology laboratory. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases is performing a confirmation test.

Department of health spokesperson Joe Maila said, "There is no need to panic in South Africa when it comes to the Zika virus.

READ MORE: Will the Zika virus come to SA?

For someone to get the virus, they need someone who has the virus and a mosquito to bite that person, and the same mosquito should bite another person, and in SA our community of mosquitoes does not spread the virus.

Maila said the virus is present in the blood of a patient for a very short time, typically less than seven days.

I am also worried that people are saying it is the first case of Zika in SA. This virus is not SA acquired, and people should understand that the businessman got it from Colombia which is experiencing a large outbreak of the virus.

Meanwhile the World Health Organisation said the Zika virus is "spreading explosively" in the Americas and the region may see up to four million cases of the disease strongly suspected of causing birth defects.

READ MORE: Pregnant women in SA warned about Zika virus

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  zika virus  |  health

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