Red Cross reiterates need for vigilance against Zika virus

By on March 13, 2016

(Photo from the Philippine Red Cross' website)
(Photo from the Philippine Red Cross’ website)

MANILA – In view of reports about an American woman who tested positive for the Zika virus after a four-week visit to the Philippines, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) reiterated its message for the public to remain vigilant against the Zika virus through eliminating possible breeding grounds of mosquitoes.

“Although there is no outbreak of Zika in the country yet, I urge everyone not to be complacent. Always be vigilant against Zika or Dengue carrying mosquitoes,” said PRC chairman Richard Gordon.

This can be done by regularly cleaning surroundings and removing breeding grounds of mosquitoes.

“The Red Cross has mobilized our staff and volunteers nationwide to lead and encourage communities to be pro-active in the prevention of Zika and Dengue viruses. I have instructed all PRC chapters in the country to lead the information dissemination about Zika and Dengue in schools and communities,” Gordon said.

Similar to dengue prevention campaigns, the best way to prevent the spread of the Zika virus is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to clean places where mosquitoes breed. Objects that collect water should always be emptied or collected water should always be covered to avoid mosquitoes Zika and Dengue carrying mosquitoes to breed.

“Make prevention everyone’s responsibility. Join or initiate community efforts to clean your surroundings and remove possible breeding grounds of mosquitoes. Keep your family safe through good housekeeping to keep mosquitoes away from your homes,” advised Gordon.

Gordon added that the Red Cross remains ready to provide blood in case it would be needed, in the event of a Zika outbreak.

Patients who have tested positive for the virus have complained of symptoms that include fever, rash, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and joint pain, that last for several days to a week. The initial outbreak of the disease in Brazil reported adverse effects on pregnant women, with reported cases of women who gave birth to babies with cerebral defects (small head and brain).