American woman infected with Zika virus after trip to the Philippines

There is no epidemic in the country, though.



( After a four-week visit to the Philippines in January, an American woman tested positive for Zika when she went back to the U.S. The woman was not pregnant, and is the Philippines’ second laboratory-confirmed case of the Zika virus. The first documented case was back in 2012, when a 15-year-old boy in Cebu with no travel history was infected.


The American citizen experienced fever, rash, joint and muscle pain, and conjunctivitis in the latter part of her Philippine trip. The Department of Health learned of this when they received an alert from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention early Saturday morning.


The Department of Health (DOH) is coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in locating the areas the American woman visited, and initial findings point to places mostly in Luzon. DOH Secretary Janette Garin assures the country that there is no Zika outbreak in the Philippines. However, she cautions pregnant women as well as those who plan to get pregnant to be vigilant against the Aedes Aegypti mosquito—the same carrier responsible for the dengue fever—which is most active two hours before sunrise and two hours before sunset. Garin urges the public to get rid of potential breeding sites for mosquitoes. “Even as small as a bottle cap is a potential breeding site,” Garin said.


Studies show that the virus can also be sexually transmitted. Anyone who experiences symptoms is advised to seek medical attention. Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction can test suspected cases. This test is available at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) hospital in Muntinlupa City as well as in the Visayas and Mindanao. 

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