Zika reaches Makati, Mandaluyong
Two new cases of Zika virus infection have been reported in Metro Manila this week, bringing to 17 the total number of patients found with the mosquito-borne disease.
Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said that, as of Thursday, her agency has recorded new cases in the highly urbanized cities of Mandaluyong and Makati. Earlier, 12 cases were reported in Iloilo City and its surrounding areas, and one each in Antipolo, Muntinlupa and Cebu.
“None of the patients were hospitalized, as of this report. They’re all well and recovered,” Ubial said in a press briefing on Friday.
She added that the two new cases, involving a 27-year-old woman in Mandaluyong and a 42-year-old man in Makati, were both locally transmitted.
Endemic to region
According to Ubial, the World Health Organization has raised in their recently concluded regional committee meeting the possibility that the virus detected in the Philippine cases is endemic to the Western-Pacific region.
“In the genetic typing of the viruses, it is different from the virus discovered in the African region and in South America. It is presumed to be endemic in the Western-Pacific region,” she said.
Ubial said it was possible that the virus was already in the country even before the earlier Zika outbreaks reported in Singapore and South America.
“We’re still trying to confirm if this particular virus was already circulating in the Philippines, but we have not done tests for it before. We only tested when the outbreak in South America was reported globally,” she said.
To ensure that mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya, will not spread especially this rainy season, Ubial reminded the public to use the “Four S” approach recommended by the Department of Health.
As she put it, Four S means: search and destroy for mosquito breeding grounds; self-protection against mosquito bites; seek early consultation; and say yes to fogging only when there’s a clustering of cases.
“Bringing down the mosquito population is the best strategy to prevent dengue, Zika and chikungunya infections,” the DOH chief stressed.