Zika Virus
An edes aegypti mosquito is seen inside a test tube as part of a research on preventing the spread of the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases at a control and prevention center in Guadalupe, neighbouring Monterrey, Mexico, March 8, 2016. Reuters/Daniel Becerril

Germany and Singapore have confirmed their first Zika cases. In a joint statement with the National Environment Agency, the Ministry of Health confirmed Singapore’s first Zika case. A 48-year-old-man, who is a permanent resident of Singapore, tested positive for the Zika virus after a trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil. He made the trip from March 27 to May 7.

According to the joint statement, the man from Singapore developed rash and fever on May 10 and was hospitalised two days later. That is when he tested positive for Zika. The statement said that the man would be transferred to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for isolation and treatment.

Sim Ann, Singaporean parliament member, announced that the government would be visiting the residential compound of the man for house visits and inspection. The Summer Olympic Games would open in Rio de Janeiro in August. A debate is going on over the safety of tourists and athletes who would be present there during that time. Experts are of the opinion that if the half a million tourists are exposed to the Zika virus, that could result in a global epidemic. Rio de Janeiro has a high incidence of the virus.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, the virus was being actively transmitted in Cape Verde, Pacific Islands and Latin America as of Thursday. The mosquito-borne Zika virus can cause microcephaly that affects the brain of newborns and causes deformity.

Germany has also confirmed its first Zika case. The Robert Koch Institute reported on Friday, that a German woman picked up the virus after having sex with a person who had contracted the virus in Puerto Rico. Due to the patient’s geographical location and time of the year, the experts could ascertain that the woman contracted the virus through sex and not mosquito bite in Germany. The woman’s sex partner visited Puerto Rico in April.

Christina Frank from the institute's infectious epidemiology unit said she had assumed that sooner or later the virus will find a way into the country. She also acknowledged the fact that chances of Zika transmission via sex are higher than chances of transmission via mosquito bite. The institute has recorded 49 cases of Zika and in each and every case, the virus was brought from abroad, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Head of the institute for virology at Berlin's Charite hospital, Regine Heilbronn, explained that although mosquitoes spread the disease, the disease can also spread sexually. During the infection, there is a brief window when the carrier can pass on the virus to another through sexual activity.