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Pregnant women at Zika risk

by August 31, 2016 General

HEALTH Secretary Jean Paulyn Ubial on Wednesday warned pregnant women against traveling to Singapore and other neighboring countries where the number of people infected by the Zika virus is rising.

“It is very risky for pregnant women to get infected with the Zika virus as this has been linked to the birth of babies with severe brain and other neurological defects, including microcephaly,” Ubial said.

In Manila, Mayor Joseph Estrada deputized the city’s 896 barangays to help the Health Department in its campaign to prevent the outbreak of the Zika virus.

Meanwhile, the United States and Britain have joined Australia and Taiwan in advising pregnant women to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore.

Environment agency workers stepped up efforts to eradicate mosquitoes that spread the disease, expanding a fumigation campaign centered on the “ground zero” of the outbreak, the eastern suburb of Aljunied.

Because the Zika virus is also sexually transmitted, pregnant women, their partners and others should observe safe sex by using condoms, Ubial said.

She called on Filipino travelers to take extra precautions when staying in Zika-affected countries.

She said the Bureau of Quarantine will continue to screen arriving passengers for signs of fever. 

“The virus is usually acquired through bites from infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquito that spreads Dengue and Chikungunya,” Ubial said. 

“The signs and symptoms of Zika usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The symptoms include fever, skin rash, joint pains and conjunctivitis.

The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting two to seven days. Not everyone who gets infected present symptoms, which is why it is important to avoid mosquito bites. 

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