LEGAZPI CITY: One mosquito bite can spread the Zika virus in the country, the health department’s regional chief warned.
“Mosquito virus is already here and a single bite of mosquito to a human infected with the Zika virus can spread out in the Philippines because of the mobility of the people,” said DOH regional director Dr. Napoleon Arevalo.
Napoleon likened Zika virus to German measles that causes congenital anomalies and urged pregnant women to undergo pre-natal check up especially in the first trimester.
Napoleon noted that Zika virus is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person. The virus is spread when a mosquito bites an infected person and then bites another individual.
The symptoms of Zika virus infection is similar to that of dengue fever; it is carried by the same species of mosquitoes—the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes—that cause dengue.
Arevalo acknowledged that dengue is more dangerous and deadly than Zika virus. Other water- and wind-borne diseases are also more dangerous and could be a more pressing public health concern for the country.
“Dengue is more dangerous and deadly than Zika virus specifically when patient is experiencing bleeding. So if you prevent dengue, you’re preventing Zika virus,” he said.
Dengue is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course. It is accompanied by headache, fever, rash and some evidence of hemorrhage in the body. The virus is contracted from the bite of a striped Aedes aegypti mosquito carrying the virus.
The mosquitoes flourish during rainy seasons but can breed in water-filled flower pots, plastic bags and cans.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had already declared Zika virus as a global health emergency. Zika virus was first discovered in Uganda in the late 1940s.