Update: Thailand confirms first case of Zika virus

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"So far, 732 cases have been examined. In 462 of them, either no microcephaly was found, or it was caused by something other than an infection, such as alcohol or drug abuse by the mother during pregnancy," the Health Ministry said.

A 22-year-old man has contracted the virus in Thailand, officials said Tuesday (2 Feb), as global alert intensifies over the mosquito-borne infection that is being blamed for causing serious birth defects in South America.

Authorities stated that the man most likely caught the same strain of virus that had caused panic in countries like Brazil and Colombia. The virus had been “confirmed by blood tests”, according to Air Vice Marshall Santi Srisermpoke, the director of Bangkok’s Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital.

His symptoms had included a fever, rashes, and redness of eyes, said Srisermpoke, and added that the man had not travelled overseas

The man has since recovered and has been discharged from hospital, and did not provide more details of how long he had been in hospital for, or where he had contracted the sickness from.

The director-general of the Disease Control Department of the Public Health Ministry, Amnuay Gajeena, said that it was “likely to be the same strain as the one found in South America”.

“It’s not a new disease in Thailand… we had the first confirmed case in 2012. Since then we have an average of not more than five cases yearly,” he said.

“There is no need to panic… we have never had an epidemic of the Zika virus in Thailand all of the cases were one-offs”.

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