First Zika virus hospitalisation case in New Zealand this year

An Aedes aegypti mosquito that can transmit the Zika virus.
CDC

An Aedes aegypti mosquito that can transmit the Zika virus.

There has been 67 cases of the Zika virus in New Zealand since 2002, Ministry of Health figures show.

One man is in hospital after nine New Zealanders were diagnosed with the virus in 2016 after travelling travelling overseas.

The most widespread outbreak of Zika virus in history began in April 2015 in Brazil. According to Ministry figures, there were nine cases of the virus in New Zealand in 2015. This figure is provisional.

The 47-year-old man was admitted to Waikato Hospital with symptoms indicative of Guillain-Barre, a condition linked to the virus, which can cause paralysis. Most patients make a full recovery.  

The man travelled to Tonga and arrived back in New Zealand on January 15.

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A Waikato spokesperson said the man was in a stable condition in a ward on Friday afternoon.

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A 29-year-old Waikato woman was also infected and arrived in New Zealand from Samoa on January 17. 

Four of the infected had been in Tonga, four in Samoa and it is not known where the other was infected.

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Four of them were female. In two of those cases, the potential for pregnancy has been ruled out.  

Further tests are underway for the two remaining women. 

The Ministry of Health has extended its Pacific travel advice around the Zika virus to include Tonga as well as Samoa as an area of active transmission. 

In the past four months, hundreds of Brazilian babies have been born with microcephaly - or abnormally small heads - believed to be linked to Zika.

At least four Zika deaths had been confirmed overseas, and dozens of others were suspected of being a result of the virus.

The eight New Zealands who have been confirmed as having the virus this year arrived in New Zealand from December 28, 2015 to January 21 this year.

The first recorded case in New Zealand was in 2002 and numbers have fluctuated since then. 

THE NUMBERS

- 2002 – 1 

- 2003/2013 – none 

- 2014 – 57 

- 2015 – 9 (provisional)

THIS YEAR'S CASES

- A 50-year-old woman from Auckland arrived with the virus on 21 January after visiting Tonga. On the same day, an Auckland man, 63, arrived with the virus from Samoa.

- A Wellington woman, 41, arrived on 19 January from Samoa with the virus

- A Waikato woman, 29, caught the virus in Samoa, and came back to New Zealand with it on 17 January.

- A 12-year-old Auckland girl arrived from Tonga with the virus on 15 January. On the same day, a 47-year-old Waikato man also had it on his return from Tonga

- An Otago man, 49, arrived with it on 14 January. The country he was visiting was not recorded.

- Another Auckland man, 23, arrived from Tonga on 12 January carrying the virus.

- A Wellington man, 57, arrived on 28 December with the virus from Samoa.

 - Stuff

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