Overseas Pinoys warned vs Zika
WITH CLOSE to 10 million Filipinos living and working abroad, the Department of Foreign Affairs has urged citizens, particularly those traveling, to take extra precautions when in Zika-affected countries.
The Philippines remains a Zika virus-free country, according to the Department of Health.
The DFA issued the travel advisory following the rising number of cases of Zika infection in Singapore which reached 189 over the weekend. Singapore is host to 180,000 Filipinos, mostly domestic workers.
In a statement, the DFA said the Bureau of Quarantine continued to screen arriving passengers at all international ports in the country for signs of fever.
Both Filipino and foreign passengers are required to fill out a health declaration card upon arrival and to report to any government health facility if they become ill with unexplained fever within 7 days of arrival, the DFA said.
Same as dengue
The DFA quoted Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial, who said the Zika virus was usually acquired through bites from infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same type that spreads dengue and chikungunya.
“Signs and symptoms of Zika usually begin three to seven days after being bitten. Common symptoms include fever, skin rash, joint pains and conjunctivitis. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting two to seven days, Rosell-Ubial had said, as quoted by the DFA.
She said that not everyone who gets infected has symptoms, “that is why it is important to avoid mosquito bites. Hence, it is very important to clean one’s surroundings in order to prevent the multiplication of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.”
Earlier the DOH advised pregnant women to avoid traveling to countries with reported Zika cases and transmissions.
“It is very risky for pregnant women to get infected with the Zika virus as this has been linked to the birth of babies with severe brain and other neurological defects, including microcephaly (a rare condition where a baby has a small head),” said the DOH chief.
She said the Zika virus was also sexually transmitted and that pregnant women, their partners and others who plan on pregnancy, should observe safe sex precautions to avoid infection.
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