First European case of mosquito-borne Zika virus is reported
The Zika virus has arrived in Europe.
A Danish national has tested positive for the as-yet-untreatable virus, after coming into contact with it during his travels to Central and South America.
According to The Independent, the Aarhus University Hospital confirmed the news in a statement, revealing that the patient, believed to be a young man, had gone to hospital after suffering from a fever, headache and muscle aches. Following tests, it was determined he had the virus.
While the hospital released no further information about the patient, it is believed that there is little risk of the virus spreading throughout Denmark, as the mosquito-carrying virus, the Aedes aegypti, is not found in the country, and person-to-person transmission is rare.
The incident was not isolated, though, as the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health revealed that two people returning to Switzerland from Haiti and Colombia were also diagnosed with the virus, but they did not require hospitalisation, said The Guardian.
The mosquito-borne virus is not particularly dangerous to most people, although there is evidence to suggest that it poses a risk to pregnant women and is believed to be linked to cases of microcephaly — a congenital disorder which affects the brain development in a foetus — in thousands of babies in Brazil.
Since October 2015, there have been nearly 4,000 cases of microcephaly in newborns in Brazil. There were only 140 cases in 2014, and the only explanation so far is that the Zika virus is the cause of the astounding increase.
While the virus is not spread directly from person to person, a small number of cases have found that the virus has been spread through sexual transmission.
The symptoms of Zika infection are similar to those of a common cold, along with a rash that is not detected in 70 – 80 per cent of patients. Zika currently has no vaccine, and treatment is symptomatic, with the use of painkillers and other common medicines.
The good news? According to The Guardian, there are no known cases of local transmission in Europe.