The latest worldwide health scare is a viral infection called the Zika Virus. Zika is a mosquito borne virus that is closely related to dengue. According to the World Health Organization, The Zika virus is "is now spreading explosively" in Latin and South America, with one official estimating between 3 to 4 million infections in the region in just over a 12-month period.
The virus itself is not as powerful as dengue and 80% of people who contract the virus won’t even know they have it. But what has caused alarm worldwide is the supposed link between the virus and thousands of cases of birth defects in Latin America. Brazil alone has reported more than 4,000 cases of microcephaly -- a neurological disorder resulting in the births of babies with small heads -- in infants born to women infected with Zikawhile pregnant.
It should be noted that there is currently no scientific proof that Zika results in birth defects. But scientists suspect the link will soon be discovered.The fact that the virus can be spread through mother to child transmission during pregnancy, and possibly through infected blood products or sexual contact has raised alarm bells worldwide. And currently there are no medicines available to treat those with the Zika virus, and there are no vaccines to prevent it.
Thus it’s no surprise the World Health Organization has declared an international public health emergency.
The Philippines’ sole reported case of Zika was in 2012 and involved a teenage boy in Cebu Island. There have been no reported cases in the Philippines during this current outbreak. However, with mosquitos rampant throughout this tropical country, sanitation practices not always up to international standards, and Filipinos working and traveling all over the globe, it’s just a matter of time before Zika reacs the Philippines full bore.
The head of the Philippines Department of Health recently advised Filipinas to consider avoiding pregnancy over the next few months as the Zikapandemic plays out, a piece of advice that anyone familiar with this country knows will go unheeded. But people, especially pregnant women, can take certain precautions such as;
*Clean your surroundings and remove any still water and rubbish that serves as breeding grounds for mosquitos.
*Wear long sleeves and long pants to avoid being bitten.
*Use mosquito repellant.
*Avoid traveling to areas that known to have the Zika Virus.
*If you are feeling sick, immediately contact a doctor or local health facility.