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Australian Patient Tests Positive for Zika After Vietnam Visit

An Australian tourist who returned home from a trip to Vietnam has tested positive for the Zika virus.

According to Thanh Nien, Tran Dac Phu, head of the preventive health department at Vietnam's Ministry of Health, has been in contact with the World Health Organization (WHO), who alerted public officials of the incident.

The Australian national, whose identity has not been released, developed Zika symptoms such as high fever, rash, headache, muscle pain and nausea two days after leaving Vietnam. Tests later confirmed his or her condition.

As a result, the Ministry of Health has raised Vietnam's alert level for Zika and is working closely with the WHO to confirm whether the virus was contracted inside or outside of Vietnam.

“We might already be facing the presence of the virus,” Phu told Thanh Nien.

The Australian patient arrived in Vietnam on February 26, landing in Saigon before traveling to Lam Dong, Khanh Hoa and Binh Thuan provinces. Over the past few months, Vietnam has been taking random blood samples in the community to test for Zika but over 200 results have come back negative. Even so, the spread of the virus wouldn't be impossible: Zika cases have already been reported in Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

[Photo via Flickr user Tom]

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