Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Hong Kong health authorities have confirmed the city’s first Zika virus infection.
A 38-year-old expat woman was bitten by a mosquito and contracted the virus while traveling in the Caribbean island of Saint-Barthelemy earlier this month. She returned to Hong Kong on Monday and visited a local hospital on Tuesday with symptoms such as joint pains and red eyes.
On Thursday night, her blood and urine samples tested positive for Zika. SCMP reports that she initially refused to cooperate with the Department of Health and police were called in to help escort her to the hospital. She is currently in stable condition in an isolated ward at United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong.
Three family members also traveled with the woman to the Caribbean. They have shown no symptoms.
HK health authorities have dispatched government exterminators armed with insecticide to areas where the infected woman had visited, spraying in Central and Tseung Kwan O. Meanwhile, officials have also warned residents about the possibility for even more infections as people return from the Rio Olympics.
Zika was first detected in Brazil last year. By this February, the World Health Organization had declared that Zika was a public health emergency, mainly affecting Latin America and the Caribbean. The virus poses the biggest risk to pregnant women because it can cause severe birth defects.
It first arrived in Taiwan in January of this year. A month later, mainland China confirmed its first case, that was quickly followed by a second. So far, China has recorded 22 imported Zika cases.