Hong Kong confirmed its first case of Zika on Thursday, after a woman returned to the city showing symptoms.

The 38-year-old woman visited the Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy between August 6 and 20 with three others, who showed no symptoms. The woman, who works in Central, developed joint pain and redness in the eye since August 20. She is currently in isolation at United Christian Hospital.

The woman arrived at United Christian Hospital on Thursday night.

In February, a mainland man who travelled to Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus. The Health commission said he posed extremely low risk of spreading the virus, Xinhua reported.

Zika was first detected in Brazil, and has been linked to a surge in the number of children being born with unusually small heads — a condition known as microcephaly. The virus can be transmitted through mosquito bites and intercourse. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a public health emergency to combat Zika in February.

Photo: Wikicommons.

As the local victim lives in Lohas Park in Tseung Kwan O, residents of the area, especially pregnant women, should protect themselves from bites, Dr. Ho Pak-leung, president of HKU’s Carol Yu Centre for Infection, told Apple Daily.

Centre for Health Protection Controller Leung Ting-hung said, “We will carry out preventive and control measures to prevent further spread of the disease. As this is essentially a mosquito-born disease, the most important thing is to control the mosquito population in Hong Kong.”

Leung added that the centre would report the case to the WHO and closely monitor developments.

Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.