A 45-year old woman became the first confirmed case of the Zika virus being locally transmitted in the Philippines. The case is also the sixth laboratory confirmed case of the mosquito-borne virus in the country since 2012.
Doctors were dispatched to Iloilo City in the region of Western Visayas after a woman tested positive for the virus. The patient has no records of travel abroad, which made the doctors believe that the virus was transmitted locally by mosquitos.
On August 31, she developed a skin rash and joint pains not accompanied by fever. She was later confined to a hospital, where urine and blood samples were collected. She was subsequently discharged the following day.
According to Rappler, Health Department Secretary Paulyn Ubial confirmed the age of the patient. She also revealed that the woman is not pregnant after testing positive for Zika.
The Zika virus is known to cause severe birth defects if the infected woman is carrying a child. In Brazil, where the virus first made headlines, women who tested positive for Zika gave birth to children with microcephaly.
The condition causes the child’s head to deform and shrink to less than the normal size during its time in the womb. The abnormal smallness of the head is also associated with incomplete brain development.
Zika Virus In The East
Neighboring Singapore has also been hit with the Zika outbreak after several citizens became carriers after visiting foreign countries. This made other countries in the Southeast Asia region to be on high alert for signs of the virus.
Most of them employ infrared scanners in airports to scan the temperatures of new arrivals. Anyone whose temperature appears to be more than the normal body temperature is tested for the virus.
No country has yet to issue a travel ban to Singapore or the Philippines due to the recent Zika outbreak. Most of the cases appear to be in control and their respective governments have taken measures to reduce the mosquito population.
While the Zika virus is nowhere near as deadly as the dreaded Ebola, its effects can be devastating for those affected. A child’s bright future could be shattered due to the virus attacking them when they are most vulnerable: in the womb.