DOH investigating origin of Zika virus in the Philippines

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Iloilo City (CNN Philippines) — The Department of Health (DOH) is tracing the origin of the Zika virus after a 45-year-old married woman from the district of Jaro tested positive for it.

Read: Iloilo City woman tests positive for Zika virus

A team from the DOH central office visited villages here on Tuesday. DOH-Western Visayas epidemiologist Jesse Alonsabe said they are looking at a possible spread of the virus in Iloilo City.

"This is the first laboratory-confirmed case in Western Visayas and the sixth in the country so far," he said. "We are still on step one of checking where was the origin."

Alonsabe said it will be a thorough probe to make sure there's no transmission.

"The patient is not pregnant as what indicated in some reports," he said. "We are not looking for microcephaly, but we are worried about the possible transmission of the virus."

The patient was confined in a local hospital on Aug. 31 with skin rashes and joint pains. She was discharged the following day.

Samples taken from here were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila.

Lacking larvaecide

Meanwhile, Iloilo City councilor Candice Tupas urged the city government to procure additional sacks of mosquito larvaecide to stem the rising cases of dengue and Zika.

"We need additional allocation in order to continue our fight against dengue," she said in her privilege speech at the City Council's regular session on Tuesday. "This is an immediate need."

The Chemicals for Dengue Control Program has a P100,000 budget this year to procure larvaecide. Tupas says out of 180 villages, only 96 received the larvaecide from the City Health Office (CHO).

"CHO has only four sacks of larvaecides left, which is definitely not sufficient until the end of this year," she said.

Tupas said dengue and Zika have the same carrier mosquito and are from the same family of viruses.

"It's not impossible that the virus will spread here in Iloilo," she said.