Zika, the mosquito-borne disease that can cause congenital brain abnormalities, may also lead to hearing loss, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.
“Anything is possible as long as it affects the brain, the brain stem, the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves,” Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo said in an interview during the Zika summit organized by the Department of Health.
“If it affects your cochlear nerve, then your hearing will be affected,” he added.
DOH spokesperson Enrique Tayag also confirmed the possibility of hearing loss from Zika.
“Yes. That is their findings,” he said.
People with Zika, a relatively mild viral disease caused by the Aedes mosquito, can exhibit mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for two to seven days.
But Zika infection during pregnancy has been linked to microcephaly or the abnormal smallness of the head with incomplete brain development. Links to other neurological complications are also being investigated, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The disease has so far affected 19 people in the Philippines although none has needed hospitalization.
Only one of the 19 cases involves a pregnant woman, a 22-year-old from Cebu carrying her first child.
She has not given birth yet but ultrasound tests have shown no abnormalities in the child,
“Monitoring will still continue,” he said. Micah Yvana M. Vardeleon