Sunday, March 06, 2016

DOH: American Contracts Zika Virus While Visiting The Philippines

Click to watch local media Report ABS-CBN News



Although the Philippines recorded a single Zika transmission (see EID Journal report Zika Virus Infection, Philippines, 2012) through a surveillance program of acute febrile illness in Cebu City nearly 4 years ago, it is not currently considered a site of active transmission.

Today, however, the Philippines Health Secretary Janette Garin held a press conference to announce that an American tourist who visited the Philippines last January for a month developed Zika-like symptoms during the last week of her visit, and tested positive for the virus upon her return to the United States. 

Given that Zika infection is often mild or even asymptomatic, and that routine testing often fails to discern the Zika virus from Dengue infection, the true incidence of Zika infection around the world is likely significantly under reported.

While one case does not an epidemic make, febrile cases in the Philippines will no doubt come under greater scrutiny now that this case has been confirmed.  The DOH and the US CDC are reportedly coordinating on the epidemiological investigation, including the areas where this patient visited.