Health dept records 53 Zika cases in 2016

The Department of Health (DOH) recorded one new Zika case as of Dec. 30, bringing to 53 the total number of Zika cases reported in 2016.

Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Ubial said Tuesday said that 65 percent of the cases occurred among females, three of whom are pregnant, and the patients' ages ranged from 7 years to 59 years. All of them have recovered from the disease.

Ubial said the department has been monitoring the pregnant women and their babies and will continue to do so until two years after childbirth, as part of a study to find out if abnormalities linked to the Zika virus could appear after the baby is born.

She noted that ultrasound tests conducted on the pregnant women indicate that their babies are normal.

"There are no signs of microcephaly and mental disorder or neurological findings on the three fetuses," she said.

Microcephaly, a condition where a baby's head is much smaller than expected because a baby's brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, has been linked to the Zika virus.

Last month, a 16-year-old woman from Las PiAas City who caught the virus when she was pregnant, gave birth to a baby boy who did not show any microcephaly or congenital effect. Mother and baby will be monitored in the next two years.

Source: Philippines News Agency