Danish hospital says case of Zika virus discovered

HELSINKI (AP) — A Danish tourist has been infected by the Zika virus after visiting southern and central America, Danish hospital officials say, but authorities said Wednesday it was not the first case in Europe.

In a statement Tuesday, the Aarhus University Hospital said the patient ran a fever, had a headache and muscle aches and was discovered as having the virus on Tuesday.

The news comes after an ABC News report that 19 people were diagnosed in the United States with the Zika virus.

There hospital released no further details about the patient but it says that there is little risk of it spreading in Denmark because the mosquito carrying the virus isn't found in the country.

Romit Jain, from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm, says there have been confirmed cases of imported Zika virus infections in Germany and Britain.

 

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A Zika virus case was also confirmed in Sweden last summer, said Sara Rorbecker of the Swedish Public Health Agency. She said the patient — a woman of non-fertile age — had contracted the virus when traveling, adding that there was nothing "dramatic" about the case.

Zika virus is not a notifiable disease in the European Union, meaning that EU countries are not required to report cases to the ECDC. Therefore, there is wide variation on reporting by member states.

Portugal's National Director for Health said five Portuguese are infected with Zika after visiting Brazil.

Francisco Jorge told public broadcaster RTP there's one other "very probable" but unconfirmed case of a Portuguese who recently visited Colombia. All are adults, he said, without providing further details.

European officials have said they expect to see cases of the Zika virus among travelers, but say local transmission is unlikely.

The Zika virus, discovered decades ago in Africa, was long thought to be more of a nuisance illness, with symptoms generally much milder than its cousin dengue.

However, amid a large Zika outbreak in Brazil, researchers began reporting an increase in microcephaly — babies born with abnormally small heads.

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