Health office confirms first Zika virus case in Pangasinan

MANGALDAN, Pangasinan — A three-year old child from this town is the first in Pangasinan to be infected with Zika virus, according to the Provincial Health Office (PHO).

Dr. Anna Teresa De Guzman, provincial health officer in an interview Thursday, said the child, whom she did not identify in accordance with their protocol, was brought to the Region One Medical Center (R1MC) on Monday due to flu-like symptoms.

“The child was tested with dengue but it resulted negative, and R1MC later on confirmed that it was Zika virus that got the child,” De Guzman said.

She noted that the child was already treated of the symptoms and was brought home. However, the Zika virus remains in his body since it still has no cure, De Guzman said.

Zika virus, she said, has the same symptoms as dengue although milder as compared with the latter. It is also not as deadly as dengue, which progresses to dengue hemorrhagic or bleeding, nonetheless it can still be fatal to the unborn child of pregnant women, as it can cause congenital defects to the fetus, she said.

Zika virus is also carried by Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same type that carries dengue, chikungunya and Japanese encephalitis viruses, De Guzman added.

“What alarms us is that the child with the virus might be bitten by an Aedes mosquito and this mosquito might transfer the Zika virus to a pregnant woman,” she said.

De Guzman called out the public to maintain cleanliness of their surroundings at all times, especially areas that can be breeding grounds of mosquitoes.

“We are appealing to the people, for them to clean their surroundings, remove those stagnant waters in order to prevent breeding of mosquitoes that might carry different viruses not just Zika,” she said.

Heath authorities in the province are still investigating where exactly the child acquired the virus. Hilda Austria/