DOH: Philippines remains Zika virus free

THE Department of Health (DOH) assured Friday the public that the country remains free from the presence of the Zika virus, which is slowly spreading in the Americas.

In an interview, DOH Spokesman Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy said they have not yet recorded any case of Zika virus in the country amid the growing number of cases in Brazil and 22 other countries in the Americas.

"As of the moment, we don't have any cases (Zika virus) in the country," said Lee Suy.

He, however, noted that they have already one documented case of Zika virus back in 2012 in Cebu City.

According to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 15-year-old boy in Cebu City was reportedly afflicted with Zika virus and recovered fully after three weeks.

“After that case, we were not able to detect any reports that will indicate that we have the virus in the country,” said Lee Suy.

In recent weeks, several countries in the Americas region have expressed concerns over the increase in the number of Zika virus and is already believed to be "spreading explosively".

On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) is already set to convene its International Health Regulations Emergency Committee to determine whether the outbreak already constitutes the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Zika virus is a disease caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which is the same vector carrying dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.

Its symptoms include mild fever, skin rash (exanthema), and conjunctivitis, and normally last for two to seven days.

The WHO said there is currently no vaccine available against the disease.

But according to Lee Suy, the threat of Zika virus may be mitigated by maintaining cleanliness in communities and at home.

“It really involves the participation of communities to make sure they really check areas that may be breeding sites of mosquitoes,” said Lee Suy.

The public are also advised to employ self-protection measures such as using insect repellent; and wearing clothes that are preferably light-coloured and covers as much of the body as possible.

People afflicted with the illness should just get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines, as it requires no specific treatment. (HDT/Sunnex)
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