DOH reports 6 new Zika cases in PH

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A 22-YEAR-OLD woman from Cebu City is one of six persons confirmed to have fallen ill with the Zika virus this year, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

He also said the four new cases in Iloilo City are more than 10 kilometers away from the three cases earlier recorded in the city.

This brought to nine the total number of locally transmitted Zika virus cases, where the patients are between 9 and 49 years old.

As of yesterday, she was released from the hospital and is now recuperating at home, Bernadas said.

Bernadas, however, assured that the public has no reason to panic, stressing that Zika is not a fatal disease, unlike dengue fever, also a mosquito-borne disease, which can be life threatening to its victims.

Six out of the nine patients are women.

"All cases had no travel history to other countries within a month preceding (the) onset of illnes", Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial said in the report posted on the DOH website.

She said the DOH has sent quick response teams to the affected areas in the country.

Zika, which resembles a light case of the flu, is transmitted by mosquito species found in tropical and sub-tropical regions: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, or tiger mosquitoes.

Gundo Weiler, World Health Organization representative in the Philippines, said the rise in the number of cases only means the Health department is proactively testing for the Zika virus.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine has enough reagents to carry out tests for over 1,000 suspected cases, but the health department is buying 8,000 more test kits.

Those, who contracted the virus, display symptoms like fever, rash, and conjunctivitis, joint pain, muscle pain, headache, and vomiting that last for two to seven days.

"What we have recommended is for pregnant women to ask doctors any instructions regarding their pregnancy". "I will go there to confirm this", Tayag said.

The DOH has also reiterated its efforts to prevent the Zika through the "4S" strategy that requires to search and destroy mosquito breeding places; to take self-protection measures that include the use of insect repellent and mosquito bed nets and use of condom for protection against sexually transmitted infection; to seek early consultation for skin rashes, fever, joint pain or red eyes; and to say yes to fogging when there is an impending outbreak.

Despite the additional cases in Iloilo, Tayag stressed there is no need to issue a travel advisory in the province.

It is blamed for causing microcephaly, which is characterized by unusually enlarged heads in babies, and other birth defects.