DOH closely monitoring spread of Zika virus abroad—Palace

MANILA, Jan. 31 -- President Aquino has instructed the Department of Health to monitor the situation abroad and study the Zika virus to ensure public safety in the Philippines, a Palace official said. 

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manolo Quezon III said that the Zika virus it is not easily transmittable. 

According to DOH, precautions on the Zika virus are very similar with that of the dengue fever.

“In other words, ang dapat ay siguruhin na hindi kumalat ang mga mosquito na nagdadala ng virus na ito,” Quezon said over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

He said everyone has a role to play in making sure he or she is healthy and safe, especially pregnant women.

Quezon advised the public to maintain cleanliness and orderliness in their homes and destroy the breeding grounds of mosquitoes, the known carrier of the disease.

“Kung mayroon tayong nakikitang outbreak of dengue or similar diseases, do get in touch with your barangay health center or ‘yung barangay mismo para pwede silang mag-coordinate with the DOH para magkaroon ng pest control,” he said.

Manolo said people must be vigilant and whenever they notice anyone as having fever they must see a doctor immediately.

“In other words, calmness, information, cooperation are our tools against this disease, and we should remain alert for any updates from the Department of Health,” he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rashes, joint pains, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. 

The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes. (PCOO/PND)