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American tested positive for Zika virus while in PH—DOH

/ 04:25 PM March 06, 2016

A resident of the United States has tested positive for the deadly Zika virus while staying in the Philippines last January, the Department of Health (DOH) revealed on Sunday.

In a press briefing, Health Secretary Janette Garin said that the unidentified American woman stayed in the Philippines for four weeks.

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READ: As Zika rages in the Americas, should Asia be worried?

However, the US resident only exhibited symptoms of the virus when she was on her last week in the country.

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“Currently we are coordinating with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the profile of the patient, including information on places she visited in the PH,” Garin said.

The health official allayed fears that there is now an outbreak of the said disease in the country.

“Despite reported case, there is no outbreak of Zika virus in the Philippines. There is no epidemic. The public should not panic,” she said.

READ: DOH says PH still free of Zika virus

Garin also asked pregnant women and those who are planning to get pregnant to exercise maximum caution to avoid contracting the virus.

Zika has become an epidemic in South America last year. The virus, which is spread through mosquito bites, causes mild illness or no symptoms at all.

Some pregnant women who get infected by the virus give birth to children with microcephaly.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), microcephaly is a rare condition where “a baby is born with a small head or the head stops growing after birth.”

Researchers are still studying the link of the rise of microcephaly cases and the Zika virus.

The WHO has declared Zika as a “global emergency.” AJH/With reports from Jocelyn Uy, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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TAGS: disease, microcephaly, pregnant, pregnant women, Zika, Zika virus
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