DOH urges public to intensify fight vs disease-carrying mosquitoes

Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial orders for more intensive mosquito control campaigns following new reports from the Department of Health (DOH) after the first confirmed case of locally-transmitted Zika Virus Disease in Iloilo City as announced last week.

According to reports from the DOH Epidemiology Bureau, two more cases, living in the same household as the first confirmed case, tested positive for the Zika virus based on test results done at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. Both cases presented with mild skin rash not accompanied by other signs and symptoms unlike the first confirmed case who presented with skin rash, joint pains and red eyes. All three cases have since recovered from their mild illness and did not require hospitalization. Fortunately, none of these cases are pregnant.

Local transmission was confined only within the affected household. However, continuous monitoring of suspected cases for another month will be implemented by DOH to determine extent of local transmission in the country led by DOH Regional Offices.

The investigation also included household survey to establish relevant mosquito larvae/pupae link to the confirmed cases. There were 88 households visited around and near the residence of the confirmed cases. Most of the the containers identified as mosquito breeding sites were positive for larvae/pupae of Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector for the Zika virus.

Secretary Ubial urged all local government units (LGUs) to implement intensive mosquito control campaigns to stop the spread of Zika virus. Individuals who present with symptoms of rash, joint pains, and red eyes must visit health facilities to confirm the diagnosis. The public is advised to avoid mosquito bites by all means possible to prevent new infections and spread of the Zika virus. Environmental clean-up to get rid of mosquito breeding sites should be done including targeted and pre-planned fogging to reduce adult mosquito density.

Pregnant women and those who have potential to be pregnant are advised to visit their doctors for any illness developed during and around their pregnancy.

DOH will support LGUs by distributing insecticide treated mosquito nets, insecticides and IEC materials to maintain a high level of awareness against Zika. The Bureau of Quarantine will continue to screen incoming travellers to identify travel-associated Zika.

"Let's go back to basics; we always say that prevention is better than cure. Prevention should start from our home. Make 4S a regular habit and participate in cleaning activities initiated in our community. 4S means Search & destroymosquito breeding places, use Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation for fever lasting more than 2 days, and Say NO to indiscriminate fogging." Secretary Ubial concluded.

Source: Philippine Information Agency