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Japan confirms first Zika case in latest outbreak


Japan has confirmed its first Zika case in the latest outbreak of the virus that has flared up in Latin America.

A male teenager near the capital Tokyo has been infected with the mosquito-borne virus. The teenager is reported to have contracted the virus after a visit to Brazil, the hardest hit country.

Nevertheless, Japan has downplayed any chance of a massive outbreak in the country.

“It is not yet the season for mosquitoes to be active in our nation, so there is little concern that this case will trigger a large scale infection. However the government has held meetings to decide supplementary steps and continue to work together with relevant ministries,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

The government has announced an emergency aid of 1 million dollars to international bodies to help combat the virus.

This is the fourth case of Zika in the country as three other people were diagnosed in 2013 and 2014 and were all infected overseas.

The virus has spread in over 30 states in Latin America and is suspected to be linked to a wave of birth defects in Brazil.

Health officials suspect that there is a link between the virus and microcephaly which leads to babies being born with small heads and undeveloped brains.

The World Health Organisation recently declared the virus a global emergency and anticipates it to affect as many as 4 million people this year.

The virus was first identified in Africa in the early 1940s.

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