Cardiologist Dr. Willie Ong has confirmed that a Filipino living in Honduras had contracted Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease carried by Aedes aegypti. The patient, according to Dr. Ong, had recuperated at the hospital and has returned home.
In his interview with ABS-CBN News, Dr. Ong revealed that the family members who took care of the patient will soon be coming home to the Philippines. According to the medical expert, there is a possibility that they have been infected with the virus.
However, the Department of Health stressed that the relatives of the patients do not pose a threat even if they are carriers of the virus unless they are pregnant. The DOH also disclosed that they don’t have enough kits to test every passenger coming from countries where the Zika virus is widespread since supplies are limited worldwide.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the world’s latest health scare Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus first identified in rhesus monkeys in Uganda in 1947. Affecting 29 countries particularly in Latin America, Zika virus causes symptoms such mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis. Currently, there is no known treatment or vaccine for the virus.
Local health authorities in Brazil, which experienced a large outbreak in 2015, have observed an increase in babies born with microcephaly, a congenital condition linked with incomplete brain development as well as abnormally small heads.
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Zika Virus Allegedly Transmitted through Sex
Following a report that a patient from Dallas County, Texas had contracted Zika virus after having sex with someone who had been infected with the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised pregnant women to protect themselves if their male sexual partner has recently traveled to or lives in a location where Zika virus is circulating or widespread.
“Until we know more, if your male sexual partner has traveled to or lives in an area with active Zika virus transmission, you should abstain from sex or use condoms the right way every time you have vaginal, anal, and oral sex for the duration of the pregnancy,” the updated Zika virus guidance says.