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S. Korea to take comprehensive measures to prevent Zika spread

SEOUL, March 22 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's disease control agency said Tuesday that it will take comprehensive measures to prevent the spread of the Zika virus after the first case of the mosquito-borne virus was detected.

Jung Ki-Suck, director of the state-run Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), told an emergency press briefing that the agency will continue to take comprehensive measures to prevent the spread and the additional import of the epidemic.

The KCDC will conduct a broader epidemiological investigation into family members and company colleagues of the first South Korean patient diagnosed with the Zika virus.

The 43-year-old, who returned to South Korea on March 11 after staying at Brazil for 22 days, tested positive earlier in the day for the viral disease that is believed to have been linked to birth defects.

The virus is particularly risky for pregnant women as it is thought to be linked to a rare birth defect, microcephaly that causes newborn babies to have abnormally small heads and damaged brains.

Five days after his comeback, he began to develop symptoms of the Zika virus, including fever, muscle pain and rash. Zika has an incubation period of as long as two weeks.

Zika is known not to be spread by physical contacts between humans, but it can be transmitted through sex and blood transfusion.

Cases of sexual transmission from travelers to their sexual partners have been reported in the United States and Europe.

The patient's wife will be subject to a genetic test, with his company colleagues to be under an epidemiological investigation.

Epidemiological investigators had been dispatched to the southern port city of Gwangyang where the first patient and his family live.

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