New Zika virus infection confirmed in Japan

Kyodo

The health ministry confirmed Friday another person has tested positive for the Zika virus, which has been spreading throughout Latin America since last year.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said a woman in her 30s in Aichi Prefecture contracted the mosquito-borne virus during an overseas trip in February.

The woman stayed in Brazil for two weeks before returning to Japan on Feb. 22. She visited a hospital on Thursday, suffering skin rashes, joint pain and a fever of 38.2 degrees, the ministry said, noting she has since started recovering.

Last month, a male high school student from Kawasaki who spent some time in Brazil became the first person in Japan confirmed to have contracted the virus since the recent Latin American outbreak.

The World Health Organization declared a global public health emergency over the virus on Feb. 1.

The Zika virus usually causes mild symptoms, such as skin rashes and headaches, it is suspected to cause abnormally small head sizes in some newborn babies, a condition called microcephaly, if mothers contract the virus during pregnancy.

Microcephaly can also delay development and cause hearing loss and vision problems. Brazil has seen a rapid increase in such cases.

Three people in Japan were diagnosed with Zika infections in 2013 and 2014 after returning from Thailand and the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora. All were infected overseas.