Taiwan reports first imported case of Zika fever for 2019

Taipei, Feb. 20 (CNA) A junior high school student who recently returned from Vietnam has been confirmed to be infected with the Zika virus, which is the first imported case this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Wednesday.

The student had developed a fever the day before he returned from a 10-day holiday with his family in Ho Chih Minh City, and his abnormal temperature was detected at a screening station on his arrival at Taichung International Airport on Feb. 15, the CDC said.

The CDC said it received a report of the case the same day and had the student's sample tested, after which it was determined that he was infected with the Zika virus.

CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said the student's condition has since improved and he will carry out a self-health management at home until Feb. 25.

So far none of the people who had contact with the student have developed any symptoms and chances are low that the disease will spread, Lo said, adding the local health authorities have disinfected the neighborhoods in Taichung that the student frequents.

However, Lo warned of the risk to pregnant women, saying there is a 15 percent chance of the baby being born with microcephaly if the mother is bitten by the Aredes mosquito that carries the Zika virus.

Since 2016, there have been 21 cases of Zika virus infections in Taiwan, all of which have been imported, with countries in Southeast Asia being the major source, according to CDC statistics.

Over the past three years, Taiwan has recorded six cases of imported Zika fever cases from Vietnam, five from Thailand, two each from the Philippines and Malaysia, and one each from Indonesia, Singapore, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Angola and Florida in the United States, CDC data showed.