The Department of Health discloses a report from US-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that an adult non-pregnant US resident, with a travel history of four weeks in the Philippines in January 2016, was confirmed positive for Zika virus. She developed an illness with symptoms of fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, and muscle pain during her last week in the Philippines before returning to the United States of America.
“Currently, we are coordinating with US-CDC (US-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for the profile of the patient, including information on places she visited in the Philippines. We were informed that shortly after returning home to the US, an evidence of Zika virus infection was detected from the patient.” Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin explained.
General information on the Zika virus
Zika viral disease, caused by Zika virus, is characterized by fever, rash, and conjunctivitis. Other symptoms are joint pain, muscle pain, headache, and vomiting. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for 2-7 days. Although most infected individuals are asymptomatic (does not manifest any symptoms), they still have the capability of transmitting the infection. Zika virus is usually transmitted through the bite of infected female Aedes mosquitoes, the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue and chikungunya. There have been reports that the virus can be transmitted through sexual contact and blood transfusion.
According to the World Health Organization there are 55 countries and territories that have reported local Zika transmission from January 2007 to March 2016. Local Zika virus transmission has also been detected in neighboring countries such as American Samoa, Cambodia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Maldives, and Thailand. Most Zika cases are from Latin America.
Local research and treatment
The health chief added that in the Philippines, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine is capable of testing suspected cases of Zika virus through Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction. The test is also available in Visayas and Mindanao.
The symptoms of Zika virus disease can be treated with common pain and fever medicines, rest, and plenty of water intake. If symptoms persist, patients are advised to consult the nearest health facility. Currently, there is no available vaccine to prevent Zika virus infection.
The Department of Health emphasizes that Zika infection is asymptomatic in 80% of cases and most of the time the disease is self-limiting. However, the effect on the result of pregnancy should not be discounted. Zika virus has been linked to congenital CNS malformation like microcephaly. DOH calls on pregnant women to avoid mosquito bites especially during day time. For those with fever, rash, and conjunctivitis, submit yourself for consultation.
It is very important to search and destroy the potential breeding sites in order to prevent the spread of Aedes mosquitoes that serve as vector of the virus. “We reiterate that cleanliness is still the key against mosquito-borne diseases. The public is reminded to be vigilant and pre-cautious in eliminating mosquito breeding places through the ‘4S campaign’. The 4S means: (1) search & destroy mosquito breeding places, (2) use self-protection measures, (3) seek early consultation for fever lasting more than 2 days, and (4) say yes to fogging when there is an impending outbreak.” Garin concluded.
—From the Department of Health