Health dept reports 57 Zika cases as of Feb. 2

MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) said Friday a total of 57 Zika cases have been reported in the country from January last year until last February 2.

It said 38 of the cases (67 percent) were female and 19 (33 percent) were male. The victims’ ages ranged from 7 years to 59 years.

No death has so far been reported.

Some 20 cases (35 percent) were from the National Capital Region; 18 (32 percent) from Calabarzon; 15 (26 percent) from Western Visayas; and two (4 percent) each from Central Luzon and Central Visayas.

Of the 57 cases, seven were pregnant, aged 16 to 32 years. Three came from the NCR, two from Calabarzon and two from Central Visayas. Of the seven, three are still pregnant. The 16-year-old from Las Piñas had given birth to a healthy baby boy at full term, while the 32-year-old from Central Visayas had a spontaneous abortion at nine weeks of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the health department is confirming if a woman in Western Visayas who had given birth to a baby girl whose head is smaller than usual, had contracted the Zika virus during her pregnancy. The baby was also born with encephalocoele, a neural tube defect characterized by sac-like protrusions of the brain.

The mother did not manifest any symptom of Zika during her pregnancy.

“Blood samples from mother and baby were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and will be subjected to a confirmatory test on Zika virus using Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR),” Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said, adding that Zika infections are often asymptomatic.

She noted that this case should not be discounted.

“Zika virus has been linked to congenital central nervous system malformations, such as microcephaly. The DOH calls on pregnant women to avoid mosquito bites, especially during day time. Insect repellants are safe for regular application. For those with fever, rashes, and conjunctivitis, submit yourselves for consultation,” she said.