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Two more Zika cases confirmed in Iloilo

Two more patients tested positive for the Zika virus, bringing to eight the number of people afflicted with the dreaded disease since 2012.

In a press conference, Department of Health (DoH) secretary Paulyn Ubial revealed that the two victims stayed in the house of another Zika victim, a 45-year-old woman who was diagnosed last September 5 in Iloilo City.

Ubial said tests were done at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and that the latest victims are considered as the first locally-transmitted cases since both had no travel histories.

Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe, chief epidemiologist of DoH-6 in Western Visayas region, meantime said the two latest victims are considered asymptomatic cases as both did not show noticeable symptoms except for mild skin rashes.

Signs and symptoms of a Zika infection include fever lasting for two to seven days, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, pain behind the eyes, and vomiting.

Zika virus is acquired through bites from infected Aedes aegypti mosquitos, the same type of mosquito that spreads dengue and chikungunya. Common symptoms include fever, skin rash, joint pains, and conjunctivitis.

There is no available vaccine to prevent the mosquito-borne virus. But medical experts said the symptoms of Zika virus could be treated with common pain and fever medicine, rest and enough water intake.

Despite the increase in reported cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) is yet to determine the exact incubation period.

WHO said the symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue. (With a report from Tara Yap)