Two more cases of Zika virus have been documented by the Department of Health in Iloilo City, bringing to eight the total number of cases in the Philippines since 2012, DOH Secretary Paulyn Ubial said.
“The latest cases were based on test results done at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. Both are living in the same household as the index or sixth Zika case,” Ubial said.
Both cases, she said, “presented mild skin rashes and not accompanied by other signs and symptoms unlike the index case, who has joint pains and red eyes, aside from skin rashes.”
She said all three cases have since recovered and did not require hospitalization. None among them is pregnant.
According to Ubial, the two new cases contracted the disease through mosquito bites. The DOH had ruled out the two other modes of transmissions for Zika virus – sex and blood transfusion.
The DOH had tested 12 individuals who came in contact with the index case, but only two turned out positive.
“Local transmission was confined only within the affected household. Continuous monitoring of suspected cases for another month will be implemented by DOH to determine the extent of local transmission in the country,” Ubial said.
As part of the investigation of the 6th Zika case, DOH conducted household survey to establish relevant mosquito larva or pupa link to the confirmed cases.
The agency visited 88 households located around and near the residence of the three cases.
Most of the water containers in these households contain larva or pupa of Aedes aegypti — the vector of Zika, dengue and chikungunya.
Because of the threats posed by Zika virus, the DOH has urged all local government units to step up environmental cleanup and get rid of mosquito breeding sites.
Ubial has also asked the public to avoid mosquito bites to prevent new infections and spread of the virus.
The DOH chief has ordered the distribution of insecticides, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and information and education materials among the residents.
She urged pregnant women and those who are planning to get pregnant to see their doctors for any illness that they may develop during and around the pregnancy.
“We advised pregnant women to use mosquito nets even during the day so they can be protected from mosquitoes,” she said.
Source: Philstar Image: Bank Image