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Health Dept confirms first case of Zika virus in SA

A Colombian businessman visiting the country has been diagnosed by a private JHB pathology laboratory.

A view in a macro lens of ‘Aedes aegypti’ mosquito, which spreads the Zika, Dengue and Chikunguna viruses, at the epidemiology department of Guatemala City, Guatemala, on 1 February 2016. Picture: EPA/Esteban Biba.

JOHANNESBURG - The Health Department has confirmed the first case of the Zika virus in South Africa.

A Colombian businessman visiting the country has been diagnosed by a private Johannesburg pathology laboratory.

It's understood he acquired the infection in the South American country before travelling.

The businessman's blood samples have been taken to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), for further tests.

The department's spokesperson Joe Maila says the patient presented himself with a rash and a fever after arriving in the country, but has since recovered.

"The person is fully recovered. All we're doing is to make sure that indeed we check whether it was the Zika virus, because that's what the NICD must conserve with the laboratory that has done the test."

WATCH: Inside the Zika virus

The Zika virus is the cause of much concern, with an increasing number of infections being reported in Brazil and in other parts of the Americas.

Meanwhile, the department says the first case of the Zika virus in South Africa poses no risk to residents as the virus is not transmitted from human to human, but through a mosquito and or possibly from mother to the foetus in pregnant women.

LISTEN: Explained: The origins of the Zika virus

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