DOH confirms 5th Zika virus case in Philippines

MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, May 13, that the 39-year-old South Korean national reported to have acquired Zika virus infection while on a visit to the Philippines is now recovering and under stable condition in his country.

“He was admitted in a hospital in Korea not because he did not feel well -- but because he wanted to complete his laboratories, so siya ay kasalukuyang nagrerecover, walang problema, stable ang pasyente (the patient is stable and recovering)," DOH Secretary Janette Garin said in a press briefing held at the DOH Media Relations Unit in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila.

According to Garin, the Korean national was the fifth confirmed case of Zika virus, which was acquired locally, indicating that the Zika virus-transmitting mosquito is present in the country through the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti.

Garin said that since the case is indicative that the mosquitoes in the country can cause Zika virus transmission, the key for prevention of the disease as of now is cleanliness.

“What is important is that all the patients who contacted Zika virus in the Philippines did not have any complications and that agaran silang na-identify at agaran ding nakikita na di naman kumakalat ang virus at walang buntis na nagkaroon ng complication,” she said.

In Mexico, Brazil and Polynesia, the outbreak of Zika infection is associated with complications among pregnant women who acquired the infection through mosquito bites and sexual intercourse resulting in microcephaly and Guillain Barre Syndrome.

So far, there have been no recorded microcephaly cases linked to Zika in the country.

The first Zika virus infection in the country was recorded in 2012 in Cebu.

The second case involved an American woman who visited and stayed in the country for four weeks in January 2016.

The third and fourth cases also involved a Korean national and a companion.

The DOH said all of the patients had recovered, indicating that Zika virus infection acquired in the country is self-limiting.

Garin added that right now, the Zika virus testing centers in the country are in place such as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, and six other DOH-retained hospitals.

She also said that patients suspecting that they have Zika infection or manifesting the symptoms may also be tested through blood or urine samples which can then be transported to the testing centers.

“You will know the result in 24 to 48 hours,” she said.

Zika virus infection, in comparison to dengue fever, is mild. In most cases, patients do not even notice that they have it.

Its symptoms are fever, muscle and joints pains, rashes, and redness of eyes. (PNA)
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