Zika virus is just one flight away from Australia to the Philippines


This should make everyone aware and cautious. The dreaded Zika virus is just one flight away from Australia to the Philippines. Or from an infected population in a Latin American or Carribean country to Manila. It will be carried not by Aedes aegypti, the mosquito vector of Zika virus, but by an infected tourist or Pinoy who lands at any of the international airports of the country.

This premise may hold true as two cases of Zika virus infection have been detected in News South Wales, Australia, local media reported on Tuesday. Fairfax Media reported that the residents had recently travelled in the Caribbean before heading back to Sydney.

Sky News quoted Dr. Vicky Sheppeard, Director, Communicable Diseases, at NSW Health, as saying that Zika virus infection was confirmed on January 29 in two NSW residents who had recently travelled in the Caribbean.

“It is very unlikely that Zika virus established local transmission in NSW as the mosquitoes that spread the infection are not established here, although they are found in some parts of north Queensland,” Sheppeard said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Department of Health said on Tuesday it is stepping up its nationwide preparations for the prevention and control of the new global health hazard dubbed as Zika virus infection.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City will be training and activating other government hospitals and health facilities for Zika virus testing,” DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin said in a press briefing held at the DOH Media Relations Unit in Tayuman St., Sta. Cruz, Manila.

Among the hospitals that will be involved in the training are San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City, Baguio General Hospital in Baguio City, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City, and Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City.

The health workers will be trained to enhance their laboratory capabilities for handling of testing kits that will be used for identifying and confirming of possible Zika cases and documenting the cases that can possibly enter the country.

Results of documentation will be later forwarded by the DOH to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, USA. At present, the country has existing 1,000 testing kits for Zika virus supplied by CDC.

The countries and territories that have been identified by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) as having experienced “local Zika virus transmission” are Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Here are discussions about the Zika virus:

This should give us a pretty understanding of the Zika virus, too.

With report from PNA. H/T wikipedia.

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