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Pregnant Cebuana is positive for Zika

A 22-year-old pregnant woman from Cebu City has been infected with the Zika virus, an infection linked to birth defect.

Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial announced the new Zika case during a press conference yesterday in Pasig City.

The Cebuana, who is expecting her first child, is the first case of a pregnant woman afflicted with Zika virus in the country.

“We conducted an initial ultrasound test to check for fetal abnormalities, particularly in the central nervous system. None were detected,” Ubial said.

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

Despite being a mild disease, Zika virus became a big concern because of the birth defect being linked to it; which is microcephaly, wherein a baby’s head is smaller than ordinary.

Ubial said the absence of any fetal abnormalities in the ultrasound is slightly a good news for now – but it is too early to be complacent now.

“It [abnormalities] can happen at any stage actually. But, usually, the risk is higher in the first trimester,” said Ubial.

At present, the DoH is closely monitoring the woman, who is 19 weeks pregnant.

“We will have more frequent check-ups, which is every two weeks,” said Ubial.

The agency also reported in the same press conference that three more cases of Zika virus were recorded in Iloilo City, bringing to 12 the number of cases this year.

This year’s cases were recorded in September. Of the 12 cases, 10 of were from Iloilo City; one in Cebu City; and one in Muntinlupa City.

Ubial said the spread of Zika cases in Iloilo has prompted the local government to conduct indoor residual spraying.