Reuters International

Workers from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department kill mosquitoes outside a construction site near a residential area in Hong Kong, China August 26, 2016, after the first case of Zika was confirmed in the city.


HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong has confirmed its first case of Zika in a woman who had travelled to the Caribbean, putting the Asian financial hub on high alert for any spread of the mosquito-borne virus that has wreaked havoc in Latin America, the Caribbean and beyond.

Leung Ting-hung, Controller of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health, told a media conference late on Thursday that relevant measures had been taken to prevent the virus from spreading.

He said the government's priority was controlling the mosquito population in Hong Kong.

"The patient is a 38-year-old woman with good past health. She has developed joint pain and red eyes since August 20," the department of health said in a statement.

The unidentified woman had been in the Caribbean from Aug. 6-20 and returned to Hong Kong on Monday, the department said.

It said it would report the case to the World Health Organization.

In February, a mainland Chinese man who flew into Hong Kong was diagnosed as having the Zika virus, according to broadcaster RTHK, citing officials as saying there was little chance he could have caused an outbreak during his brief stay.

Zika was detected in Brazil last year and has since spread across the Americas. The virus poses a risk to pregnant women because it can cause severe birth defects. It has been linked to more than 1,800 cases of microcephaly in Brazil.

(Reporting by Twinnie Siu, Meg Shen and Clare Baldwin; Editing by Louise Ireland and Paul Tait)


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