Press Release
February 3, 2016


SENATOR Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, reminded the Filipino public that being vigilant and proactive against mosquitoes is the first and most effective line of defense against the rapidly spreading Zika virus after the World Health Organization declared on Monday "international emergency" regarding high incidence of the virus.

"The widespread cases of Zika virus have caused alarm in different countries, mostly because of its tragic effect on the unborn child of pregnant women, but this should not be the case in our country," Guingona stated.

WHO has earlier warned against the possibility that Zika virus is "spreading explosively," and on Monday declared "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" following a meeting of independent experts in Geneva, Switzerland.

While there is no reported incidence of the virus in Philippines aside from a single case in Cebu in 2012, the Department of Health (DoH) assured the public that it is ready to handle possible cases. Among its measures are information dissemination and ensuring proper clinical guidelines and capability of diagnosing Zika.

According to Guingona, households and communities will be the ones directly affected should Zika be present in the country; therefore, mobilizing local efforts is vital to combat the virus's spread.

"The mosquito that carries Zika virus is the same that carries dengue virus, and we have had our share of dengue outbreak but we fought hard. Zika is not as deadly but we must be as vigilant," Guingona added.

Symptoms of Zika virus are typically mild, which include fever, skin rash, joint and muscle pains, and reddening of the eyes, and may be mistaken for symptoms of dengue or Chikungunya. Precautions like keeping the environment clean and destroying possible mosquito breeding grounds are highly advised.

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