ILOILO CITY: The City Health Office in this city advised the public not to panic over the reported spread of the Zika virus and explained there is no existing travel ban to Iloilo City but only a Zika virus advisory.
The Department of Health (DOH), however, maintained that the Zika risk to most travelers in Iloilo is low.
The Zika virus advisory for travelers to Iloilo was issued by the DOH after testing confirmation from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) that found three persons positive for the mosquito virus in Barangay Benedicto in Jaro district here.
The Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, the same type that spreads dengue and chikungunya viruses.
Mosquitoes that spread chikungunya, dengue and zika are aggressive daytime biters but they can also bite at night.
On the other hand, Iloilo City Health Officer Bernard Caspe said the travel advisory must not deter travelers to Iloilo since the DOH had already announced the victims are positively recovering from the disease.
Caspe allayed fears of the disease since corrective measures are in place and the affected barangay (village) is undergoing fogging in every house.
The DOH has placed Iloilo City under intensified surveillance.
Travelers were strongly advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites through covering of exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, using FDA-registered insect repellents and staying in places with air-conditioning and screened windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
DOH Regional Director Marlyn Convocar said pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to Iloilo where there is ongoing local transmission.