MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Friday two additional cases of Zika in Metro Manila, bringing to 17 the total number of Zika cases nationwide for this year.
In a press briefing held at the DOH Media Relations Unit in Sta. Cruz, Manila, Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial said the two new cases involved two non-pregnant women — one each from Mandaluyong City and Makati City.
She said that based on their current data, the two new cases, like the previously confirmed ones, were classified as “local transmission.”
“The case number 16 is a 27-year-old female from Mandaluyong, and case number 17 is a 42-year-old female from Makati,” Secretary Ubial said.
She added that based on the reports of confirmed cases after testing yielded positive results, none of the patients had been hospitalized. They were all well and recovered.
The 17 Zika cases came from four regions — National Capital Region (NCR), Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Western Visayas, and Central Visayas.
There were 11 cases in Iloilo City and one each in Oton, Iloilo; Cebu City; Makati City; Mandaluyong City; Muntinlupa City; and Antipolo City, Rizal.
Meanwhile, the Health Chief disclosed that in a recently held World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee Meeting in Manila, attended by health ministers and leaders from the Western Pacific region, they had confirmed with them that there is a possibility of endemicity of Zika virus in the region.
Endemicity refers to natural to or characteristic of a specific people or place, native, or indigenous.
Dr. Ubial added that as of now, based on the genetic typing of viruses, they found that the Zika virus in the Western Pacific region is different from the virus that was discovered in South America and African regions.
“What we’re saying is that the possibility of this virus (Zika) having been in the Philippines before the outbreak in Singapore was reported, and even the outbreak in South America was reported, it’s there…So we still have to confirm if this particular virus was already circulating in the Philippines that we have not tested,” she explained. Leilani Junio/PNA-northboundasia.com