MANILA – Every Filipino citizen can help and make a big difference in eradicating or reducing the number of mosquitoes in the country capable of transmitting mosquito-borne illnesses.
This was reiterated by Health Secretary Janette L. Garin in a press briefing held on Friday at the Department of Health (DOH) Media Relations Unit in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila.
“Although it will be very difficult to eradicate mosquitoes, we really can help… Kasi, we have 102 million Filipinos, so kung bawat isa sa atin ay maglilinis ng ating kapaligiran para di dumami ang pagpupugaran ng lamok, malaking bagay talaga ‘yun,” Secretary Garin said.
She made the reiteration while reminding the public on how they can be protected from bites of mosquitoes that can possibly transmit diseases such as Zika virus infection, dengue and chikungunya.
“We reiterate that cleanliness is still the key against mosquito-borne diseases. The public is reminded to be vigilant and take precautions in eliminating mosquito breeding places,” she said.
The reminder was given after the DOH chief confirmed the fifth case of Zika virus infection in the country.
The fifth case involved a 39-year-old South Korean national who visited the Philippines recently.
The first Zica infection in the country was recorded in Cebu in 2012 and involved a 15-year-old boy with no travel history to any country where Zika was then present. The boy recovered after three weeks.
The second, third and fourth cases, all involving foreign visitors to the Philippines, were recorded only this year.
Based on the close coordination of the DOH with the South Korean government, it was learned that the Korean national is now in stable condition in his country and just finishing other laboratory procedures.
“We would like to thank, of course, the Korean government which has been very often in communicating with us. And our partnership with the Korean Embassy is also very good,” Secretary Garin said.
The DOH chief said that as far as what the confirmed cases have indicated, the mosquitoes capable of transmitting Zika virus infection are actually present in the country – the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
Referring to the presence of such mosquitoes here, she said that continuous ways and unity in prevention should be done.
She stressed that the public should also make use of protective ways such as mosquito-repellant and ensuring that the water they are storing in their houses are well-covered, aside from keeping their surroundings clean.
She said that although the recorded Zika cases have so far been self-limiting, still, they are continuously doing testing for Zika virus infection in DOH-retained hospitals equipped with laboratories among patients requesting for it or suspecting that they are afflicted with the virus.
For testing, there is no need to isolate the patient. It is only the urine and blood samples that are being tested.
The DOH chief noted that Zika virus infection is milder and self-limiting and in most cases, a patient cannot even notice that he or she has acquired it.
The symptoms are fever, rashes, redness of eyes, muscle and joint pains.
The dreaded complication of Zika virus is if it occurs among pregnant women which can cause microcephaly and Guillane Barre Syndrome cases among new-born babies.
“What is important is that all the patients who contacted Zika infection in the Philippines did not have any complications. And what is important also is that agaran silang na-identify at agaran ding nakita na di naman kumakalat ang virus at walang buntis na nagkaroon ng complication,” the Health chief said.