China faces risk of Zika but low possibility of outbreak

Beijing, Jan 29 (IANS) China faces a risk of the import of Zika virus but the possibility of an outbreak is low, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said on Friday.

Since 2014, Zika cases were reported in the US and imported cases have been confirmed in Europe, Asia and Oceania. World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday warned the virus was spreading “explosively” in the US, Xinhua reported.

In a statement, the commission warned of the risk of imported Zika cases, even though no case has been reported in China.

Experts with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) believe even should there be imported Zika cases, the virus will be less likely to spread as cold weather is unfavourable for the mosquito-borne virus.

The commission said it will cooperate with the WHO and closely follow the virus outbreak in other regions. Disease control experts will conduct risk evaluations, prepare for virus-control plans, and help medical workers to become better prepared.

The China CDC has developed testing reagents for Zika virus detection.

Symptoms of Zika virus, which spreads to people through mosquito bites and is linked to severe birth defects, include fever, joint pain, rash, conjunctivitis, headache, muscle pain and eye pain.

The absence of vaccines, specific treatments and rapid diagnostic tests for the disease means it has the potential to spread internationally.

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