The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Tuesday raised its alert level for Vietnam for the Zika virus after it reported Taiwan’s second Zika infection case this year.
Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍) said a Taiwanese in his 30s working in Vietnam from June 24 began suffering pain behind his eyes and below his ears, and developed skin rashes.
He took some over-the-counter drugs to relieve the symptoms, but did not seek medical treatment before flying home to Taipei on Sept. 23, Liu said.
The man went see a doctor on Wednesday last week, and tests results received on Sunday confirmed that he had been infected with Zika, she said.
After the man’s symptoms disappeared, he returned to Vietnam for work, she said.
A total of 19 confirmed cases of Zika have been reported in Taiwan since 2016 — 13 cases that year, four cases last year and two cases this year — all of whom had been infected while abroad, Liu said.
Five of the patients were from Vietnam, four were from Thailand, and two each were from the Philippines and from Malaysia, while a few cases originated in other countries, she said.
Typical symptoms of Zika are similar to dengue fever, but milder, including fever, rashes, joint pain and conjunctivis, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said.
However, about 80 percent of people infected with the Zika virus show no symptoms, Lin said.
Women should be aware that infection during pregnancy can lead to congenital Zika syndrome and other birth defects, Lin said.
People who have traveled to areas where Zika is spreading should implement the “1+6 principle” for Zika transmission prevention, the CDC said.
The principle is: Do not donate blood for at least one month after being in a Zika-outbreak area, use a condom during sex for at least six months and (for women) do not get pregnant for at least six months.
Zika is a mosquito-borne disease and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are believed to be the main carriers of the virus.
In related news, Liu said eight indigenous dengue cases were confirmed last week, including five in Taichung, and one each in New Taipei City, Changhua County and Kaohsiung.
Additional reporting staff writer
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