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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Iloilo Zika virus victim recovers, now clear of infection

MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) said Friday, September 9, that the sixth Zika virus case reported in Iloilo has been cleared from the infection.

“The 45-year-old married non-pregnant female has recovered,” said DOH spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Doctor Eric Tayag in an interview with the media.

Tayag said a DOH team was deployed Monday, September 5, to Iloilo to trace other suspected cases and will reveal its findings by Tuesday next week.

The DOH, he said, wants to find out the scope of the local transmission through testing of specimens of possible cases who had skin rashes or displayed symptoms of Zika, such as joint pains and conjunctivitis (redness of eyes).

The manner by which the sixth Zika case acquired was considered to be in the form of local transmission -- meaning it was locally acquired because she did not come from any endemic Zika-country.

On August 31, the woman experienced skin rashes with joint pains but with no fever. Her urine and blood specimens were tested positive of Zika.

The DOH considered the first Zika virus case in the country in 2012, involving a 12-year-old male in Cebu City, as locally-transmitted.

The other four cases detected in 2016 consisted of foreign nationals who visited the country but might have had acquired the Zika from other countries.

Zika is transmitted through a mosquito and by sexual contact.

The mosquito capable of transmitting the virus is the Aedes aegypti, which also transmits dengue and chikungunya.

The symptoms of Zika are actually milder compared to dengue. They are flu-like and sometimes, no symptoms may appear. It is also self-limiting or can be healed through proper management.

But what is being feared about it is if it hits pregnant women. There are studies that link Zika to birth defect known as microcephaly, wherein the brain and head of the baby are small because the brain has not developed fully.

In this condition, the baby may suffer speech, hearing, and sight defects.

To prevent it, the DOH recommended safety measures such as use of protective mosquito repellents, keeping the environment clean, or discouraging breeding of mosquitoes.

The DOH also advised the public to use long sleeves and long pants to prevent mosquito bites. (PNA)

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