By Leilani S. Junio / Philippines News Agency
The Department of Health (DOH) reported last week that the number of Zika cases in the Philippines has risen to 39 after four new cases were confirmed.
According to the department, one woman from Biñan City, Laguna province who is five months pregnant; one from Mandaluyong City; and two from Iloilo City have caught the virus.
Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial put at three the total number of pregnant women who have Zika. The first was a 22-year-old woman from Cebu province who was found to have Zika on her 19th week of pregnancy in September; and the second was a 16-year-old in Las Piñas City who was on her 32nd week of pregnancy last month.
According to DOH Spokesman Dr. Eric Tayag, these women will be monitored during the rest their pregnancy and even up to two years after giving birth.
Tayag said there’s a good indication that their babies will not possibly develop any congenital abnormality associated with Zika, such as microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected.
He explained that, based on reports, congenital abnormalities in babies occur when the mothers get the virus during the first trimester of their pregnancy.
“Note that all of them got Zika after the first trimester period, so there is a good probability that their babies will not be affected,” Tayag said, noting, however, that they have also received reports from Brazil that congenital abnormalities could occur at any stage, even a year after the baby is born, hence, the need for continuous monitoring.
The other Zika cases were detected in Bacoor town, Cavite province; Antipolo City, Rizal province; Las Piñas; Muntinlupa City; Quezon City; Makati City; Caloocan City; and Manila.
The DOH again took the opportunity to call on the public to clean their environment to get rid of the aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the viruses that cause Zika, dengue, and chikungunya.
The department recommended the 4S strategy—searching and destroying mosquito-breeding places; using self-protection measures; seeking early consultation for fever lasting more than two days; and saying no to indiscriminate fogging. PNA