Zika Virus Outbreak: Is there Zika virus in the Philippines?

Is there Zika virus in the Philippines?

Is there an Outbreak of Zika virus in the Philippines?

To answer the question directly, there is no Zika virus in the Philippines, as of the latest reports by the Department of Health (DOH). The last case of the Zika virus was in May 2012 in Cebu, where a 15-year old reportedly tested positive for the Zika virus. Although health warnings and awareness for the Zika virus are raised in the country, to lessen the chances of getting the virus. As expressed by the DOH, there are no cases of Zika virus however the threat still remains. As early as now, everyone should employ all measures to prevent the Zika virus.

Rash on an arm due to Zika virus
Rash on an arm due to Zika virus By FRED – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Zika virus became a wide concern when last year, an outbreak of the Zika virus occurred in Brazil. The Zika virus is traced to the first human infection in 1954 in Nigeria. Several cases, including an outbreak in Yap Island in the Federated States of Micronesia in 2007, have been recorded but the awareness has only been rampant recently.

The Zika virus is brought about by mosquito bites, and in few cases, through sexual intercourse and blood transfusion. The virus is similar to the Dengue virus. The usual mosquito carriers are the Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus, which are commonly found in tropical and temperate regions. The Zika virus is carried over through the saliva of mosquitos. Only female mosquitos bite humans, because they need blood in order to lay eggs. To do that, the female mosquito will first spit saliva on the skin. The mosquito saliva contains proteins that will prevent blood from clotting or the wound from closing. The female mosquito will then bite the skin and suck the blood. The mosquito saliva will enter through the bite, along with it is the Zika virus.

The symptoms of Zika virus is very similar to Dengue, and the incubation period is two to seven days. The person infected with Zika virus will experience fever, joint pains, headache, and rashes. There are no reported deaths from Zika virus so far. The treatments may only be accessed through hospitals, since there are no vaccines and testing for the presence of Zika virus is determined through laboratory testing.

Is there Zika virus in the Philippines?
Is there Zika virus in the Philippines?

Although no further research or tests have been done to prove it, pregnant mothers are cautioned to employ preventive measures against Zika virus. The only recorded cases are in Brazil during the outbreak, where infants whose mothers suffered from Zika virus were born with microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition of having an unusually small head, and in several cases, damaged brain. This is apparently caused by temporary paralysis brought about by the Zika virus in pregnant women.

Microcephaly photo from BBC
Microcephaly photo from BBC

The best preventive method is to get rid of breeding places of mosquito. Just like Dengue mosquitos, the breeding places are dark and humid areas. Containers of water, like vases, drums, and even canals are highly probably breeding sites. There are also methods like fumigation and repellants to get rid of the Zika virus.

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