The first case of the Zika virus was detected in South Korea from a man having traveled to Brazil, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said Tuesday.
The 43-year-old man, who had made a business trip to Brazil for 22 days, tested positive at 6 a.m. local time on Tuesday (2100 GMT on Monday) for the mosquito-borne virus, the KCDC said via email. He returned home on March 11.
He stayed at the northeastern state of Ceara in Brazil, where he was bitten by mosquitoes.
The first South Korean patient diagnosed with the virus began developing fever and muscle ache from March 16. He began to show rash all over his body and suffer from severe muscle pain beginning March 19.
The man, who lives in the southeastern port city of Gwangyang in South Jeolla province, is under the second genetic investigation for confirmation. The test result would come out later in the day.
Epidemiological investigators were dispatched to the Gwangyang city for possible infection to others.
The Zika virus is believed not to be spread by ordinary touches between humans, but the patient will be kept in quarantine at a nearby hospital for treatment in preparations for potential contagion.
Zika is a flavi-virus that is mainly spread by mosquito bites, but it can be also transmitted through sexual relations and blood transfusion, according to the KCDC website.
Cases of sexual transmission from travelers to their sexual partners have been confirmed.
The virus, which has a incubation period of as long as two weeks, is particularly risky for pregnant women as it is thought to be linked to a rare birth defect -- microcephaly that causes newborn babies to have unusually small heads and damaged brains.
The KCDC has advised pregnant women not to travel to Zika-infected countries, while recommending fertile women delay pregnancy for a month after returning from those countries. It has also advised people visiting such countries to stop donating blood and use condom for a month after returning home.
The Zika virus was first found in Africa and spread to Asia and Latin America. In Asia, cases of the Zika virus were discovered in China on Feb. 19 and in Japan on Feb. 25.
The virus is spreading especially rapidly in Latin America, while Thailand and the Philippines are the most Zika-infected countries in Asia.