In a follow-up to a report last week of a locally acquired, or autochthonous Zika virus case in Iloilo City on Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, health officials today are reporting two additional locally acquired cases from the same household as the first case.

Image/Howard the Duck
Image/Howard the Duck

The Philippines Department of Health (DOH) Epidemiology Bureau reports the two cases tested positive for Zika virus by analyses done at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Health officials report both cases presented with mild skin rash not accompanied by other signs and symptoms unlike the first confirmed case who presented with skin rash, joint pains and red eyes. All three cases have since recovered from their mild illness and did not require hospitalization. Fortunately, none of these cases are pregnant.

Although all the cases have been confined to date in the same household, health officials will implement continuous monitoring of suspected cases for another month to determine extent of local transmission.

The investigation also included household survey to establish relevant mosquito larvae/pupae link to the confirmed cases. There were 88 households visited around and near the residence of the confirmed cases. Most of the the containers identified as mosquito breeding sites were positive for larvae/pupae of Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector for the Zika virus.

Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial urged all local government units (LGUs) to implement intensive mosquito control campaigns to stop the spread of Zika virus. Individuals who present with symptoms of rash, joint pains, and red eyes must visit health facilities to confirm the diagnosis. The public is advised to avoid mosquito bites by all means possible to prevent new infections and spread of the Zika virus. Environmental clean-up to get rid of mosquito breeding sites should be done including targeted and pre-planned fogging to reduce adult mosquito density.