MANILA – A 45-year-old woman from Iloilo City has been tested positive for the dreaded Zika virus, the sixth case recorded in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) revealed Monday.
In a press conference, DOH Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo disclosed that the victim, whose identity has been withheld, has no record of travel to countries where the virus has been detected.
Bayugo, however, clarified that there is still no confirmation of local transmission of the virus in the Philippines.
“As far as what we (DOH) have now, wala pa kaming evidence na merong transmission locally of this case that has been surfacing [we have no evidence that Zika has been locally-transmitted],” Bayugo told reporters in a media briefing at the Philippine Information Agency.
The woman’s spouse has yet to be tested if he too has acquired the infection since the virus can be transmitted through sexual contact, Bayugo said.
Bayugo said the department has been monitoring only sporadic cases of the infection in the country. Five other cases have been detected since 2012.
“These [previous cases] did not convert into an outbreak. And we hope that this one sporadic case will not translate [into something bigger] similar to what is being experienced elsewhere,” said Bayugo.
He then expressed alarm that neighboring country Singapore has 26 cases of the virus, and added that all efforts were being done to monitor overseas Filipino workers and foreigners coming from Zika-identified countries.
The reported 24 out of the 26 in Singapore was identified as a locally-transmitted case, and likely evolved from the Southeast Asian region.