WHO praises PHL efforts in controlling Zika virus infections

By Leilani S. Junio

A Department of Health (DOH) quarantine officer (right) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal I in Pasay City monitors arriving passengers on a thermal scanner on Monday (Aug. 29, 2016) as part of the monitoring of travelers who are symptomatic or indicating signs of Zika virus infection.(MNS photo)

A Department of Health (DOH) quarantine officer (right) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal I in Pasay City monitors arriving passengers on a thermal scanner on Monday (Aug. 29, 2016) as part of the monitoring of travelers who are symptomatic or indicating signs of Zika virus infection.(MNS photo)

MANILA, Sept. 5 (PNA) – The World Health Organization (WHO) praised on Monday the Philippine government efforts in the control and management of detected Zika virus infections following the recording of the sixth Zika case in the country.

“The Philippines was seen as one of the countries which had transmission reported in the past … but there is no widespread transmission reported currently,” said Dr. Gundo Weiler, WHO country representative in the Philippines, in a press briefing held at the Department of Health (DOH) in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila.

Dr. Weiler made the comparison among countries wherein there is a widespread transmission of the virus at present.

Weiler noted that the DOH has been implementing measures that have been put in place wherein people come forward for voluntary testing.

He said that such measures will help them better understand how widespread is the circulation of the virus in the country.

“We will observe closely … And that we will be learning more with the symptoms that will be confirmed,” he added.

A total of 72 countries are affected globally by Zika virus infection.

Out of the 37 countries in the WHO Western Pacific Region, 19 have been recorded with Zika.

Meanwhile, in the same press briefing, DOH Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Dr. Eric Tayag said they will send a team to Iloilo City on Tuesday morning to monitor further the sixth Zika virus case reported in the country.

Dr. Tayag said the DOH has thousands of testing kits readied for that particular situation as part of the measures to control possible wide spread of the virus, just what they had done in the past when confirmed Zika cases were reported in the country.

The sixth case involves a 45-year-old married but non-pregnant woman from Iloilo City. Her urine and blood samples revealed in conducted tests that she was positive with Zika virus.

The DOH said her case was classified as “local transmission” since she has no record of travel to countries where the virus has been detected. She is currently in her home for recovery.

She has also been given advice by the DOH to protect herself from mosquito bites and help in preventing the spread of the virus to others.

In addition, the DOH has also reminded everyone to be good citizens by avoiding mosquito bites to be protected against Zika by following the preventive measures.

“Anyone who presents skin rash with any of the following: fever, red eyes, or joint pains is advised to consult any government hospital,” the agency said.

The first Zika case in the country was recorded in 2012 and involved a Filipino. It was followed by an American and the third, the fourth, and the fifth cases were Koreans.

Except for the first case, all the succeeding cases were reported in 2016.

Earlier, Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial has said the Philippines remains Zika-free, adding that there have been no reported locally-transmitted Zika case so far.

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