The Department of Health on Monday reported three new cases of Zika virus in the Philippines bringing the total of confirmed cases to 12, all were monitored in September.
“Of these 12 cases, 8 were females while age ranged from 9 years to 55 years. Ten of these cases were from Region VI (Western Visayas) and one each from Region VII (Central Visayas) and NCR,” Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said in a statement.
“The previously reported case from Laguna (CALABARZON) was traced to Muntinlupa upon verification. Among cases from Region VI, 9 were from Iloilo City and 1 from Oton, just a few kilometers outside Iloilo City,” Ubial added.
The DOH statement said the Zika cases did not have any history of traval to an affected country prior to the illness. All confirmed cases had skin rashes accompanied by either fever, muscle or joint pains, or conjunctivitis without eye discharge.
On the other hand, Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag clarified in a GMA News report that majority of Zika cases originated from Iloilo because of awareness and effective monitoring.
Tayag said the first three Zika cases in the country came in Iloilo, a reason for citizens to have themselves checked.
But he warned other provinces against being complacent in thinking Iloilo was the only province with Zika cases and called on the public to have medical check-ups.
The DOH found no need to issue a travel advisory for Iloilo-bound passengers and instead urged them to have the necessary precautions such as wearing long sleeves or applying mosquito repellants.
Tayag said the 12 reported cases is not a cause for a alarm since they are only a small percentage of the more than 200 monitored Zika cases.
Meanwhile, the DOH statement said the case in Central Visayas involved a 19-week pregnant woman from Cebu who was diagnosed with the Zika virus last week.
Doctors found the patient’s first baby negative from any abnormalities after undergoing ultrasound but the DOH will still monitor the baby for microcephaly.
Tayag said research shows Zika virus effects poses a bigger risk for pregnant women in their first trimester.
All patients reported to have Zika recovered from the virus after three to five days of illness. —Joseph Tristan Roxas/NB, GMA News