DOH-Bicol warns against Zika virus

Dr. Napoleon ArevaloPhoto via Hazel Rose
As the world braces for the spread of Zika virus into a pandemic proportion, the Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol has warned that a single mosquito bite can spread the disease in the country.

“Mosquito virus is already here and a single bite of mosquito on human-infected with Zika virus can spread in Philippines because of the mobility of the people,” Dr. Napoleon Arevalo, DOH regional director, warned the public here.

But Arevalo said that dengue is more dangerous and deadly than Zika virus.

“Dengue is more dangerous and deadly than Zika virus, especially when the patient is experiencing bleeding. So if you prevent dengue, you’re preventing Zika virus,” he said.

Arevalo said that Zika is like the German measles that causes congenital anomaly.

He urged pregnant women to undergo pre-natal checkup, especially during the first semester of their pregnancy.

The DOH offical said the symptom of Zika virus is similar to dengue virus carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the species of mosquito that transmits it.

Dengue fever is a disease caused by a family of viruses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a more severe form of the viral illness. It is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with manifestations that include headache, fever, rash, and evidence of hemorrhage in the body.

The virus is contracted from the bite of a striped Aedes aegypti mosquito that has previously bitten an infected person.

The mosquito flourishes during rainy season but can breed in water-filled flower pots, plastic bags, and cans year-round.

The virus is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person. There must be a person-to-mosquito-to-another-person pathway.

Arevalo said dengue, like Zika virus, originated from tropical African countries as well as the Pacific Islands and that it started in the 1950’s and spread out after a person who have traveled to a place where the virus is circulating an insect-borne disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Zika virus as a global health emergency.

Zika virus was first discovered in Uganda in the late 1940s and mutated strain virus that causes an increasing birth defects called microcephaly and crippling neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome, both serious conditions afflicting babies.

The rapid escalation of dengue and Zika cases is attributed to climatic change because of El Niño phenomenon, as people opt to store up clean water over the containers which are so spellbound for breeding.

Arevalo said dengue cases and other related water-based and wind-borne diseases will be more dangerous and could be the leading and pressing public health concerns in the country. (by Rhaydz Barcia, PNA)

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