DOH confirms American woman tested positive for Zika while in PH

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A non-pregnant US citizen with a travel history of four weeks in the Philippines has been diagnosed with the Zika virus.

During her last week of stay in the Philippines, the lady developed symptoms of Zika.

The Department of Health (DOH) in a press briefing on Sunday (March 6) said it is not observing any case of possible Zika virus at the moment, as four individuals tested negative in the last month.

Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes but it can also be transmitted through sexual contact.

People affected with the disease usually have symptoms that include mild fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, or headache.

Read: Five things you need to know about Zika

The World Health Organization (WHO) said there are 55 counties and territories that have reported local Zika transmission from January 2007 to March 3, 2016.

No cause for alarm

Health secretary Janette Garin assured that amid the news, there is no epidemic of the Zika virus in the Philippines, asking the public not to panic.

Although Garin confirmed that the mosquito carrying the Zika virus is present in the Philippines.

Zika virus is said to lead to Microcephaly and Guillain-Barrè syndromes in fetuses, making pregnant women the most vulnerable.

Garin claimed that in the past 10 years, 332 microcephalic cases are reported in the Philippines, but this number is not showing signs of increase, and so there are still no cases of anomalous Guillain-Barre and Microcephaly births in the Philippines.

The health secretary also pointed out, the public should exercise maximum effort to prevent mosquito bites especially by destroying places where mosquitoes breed, like flower vases and water containers.

Zika-Virus-infograhics_CNNPH.png Infographic by Miggy Crisostomo  

Second case officially reported

This is the second laboratory confirmed case of Zika virus from the Philippines.

The last officially diagnosed case of Zika in the country was in 2012, involving a 15-year-old boy from Cebu.

The DOH, however, cannot confirm how many other cases there may have been.

According to the health department, most people do not manifest the symptoms of Zika virus — making it hard to understand how many people are actually exposed to it.

Garin said if anyone manifests two days of continuous fever and eye redness and muscle pain and rashes, he or she should see a doctor. In most cases, it takes five days to flush out the virus.

She also warned that someone who exhibits the symptoms should not live in contact with pregnant women.

The DOH assured the public that they are equipped with the necessary testing kits.

Related: DOH: Heightened surveillance vs. Zika

The health chief added that the country's Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) is capable of testing suspected cases of Zika virus through Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR). The test is also available in Visayas and Mindanao.