• Pinay in Honduras infected with Zika


    A FILIPINO in Honduras was reported to have been infected with the Zika virus but the Department of Health (DOH) is yet to confirm it.

    DOH spokesman Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy on Monday said officials are coordinating with their counterparts in Honduras.

    “We are still validating reports that one of the Zika cases in Honduras involves a Filipina,” Suy told an interview over GMA News.

    The official gave assurances that measures are in place to screen travelers who may be infected with the virus.

    He said thermal scanners at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport are being used to monitor the temperature of arriving passengers.

    “Screening is ongoing. What is being monitored is the body temperature. Since one of the manifestations of Zika is fever, if you have just come from Latin America or other countries affected by the virus, you will undergo further examination,” Lee-Suy added.

    If a passenger tests positive for the Zika virus, he or she will be given medication and confined in a hospital by the DOH.

    The Health department said a Zika case was reported in the country in 2012.

    Lee Suy said the DOH will implement the same approach that it used in controlling dengue to prevent the spread of Zika in the country.

    He urged Filipinos to immediately consult a doctor if they have the symptoms of Zika virus, which are also similar with flu and dengue fever.

    The World Health Organization’s emergency committee was to debate on Monday whether a Zika virus outbreak suspected of causing a surge in serious birth defects in South America should be considered a global health emergency.

    The UN health agency warned last week that the mosquito-borne virus was “spreading explosively” in the Americas, with the region expected to see up to four million cases this year.

    The WHO is under pressure to act quickly in the fight against Zika, after admitting it was slow to respond to the recent Ebola outbreak that ravaged parts of west Africa.

    Although the mosquito-borne virus’ symptoms are relatively mild, it is believed to be linked to a surge in cases of microcephaly, a devastating condition in which a baby is born with an abnormally small head and brain.

    Zika is also suspected of links to a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome.
    Brazil, the hardest hit country, sounded the alarm in October, when a rash of microcephaly cases emerged in the northeast.

    Since then, there have been 270 confirmed cases of microcephaly and 3,448 suspected cases, up from 147 in 2014.

    Jitters over Zika have spread far beyond the affected areas to Europe and North America, where dozens of cases have been identified among people returning from vacation or business abroad.

    There is currently no treatment for Zika and the WHO has said it would likely take more than a year to develop a vaccine.


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