- The Department of Health mandates regional offices to report Zika cases within 24 hours
- Cases shall be reported to DOH-Epidemiology Bureau through the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Units
- RESU will also have to report if there are no cases in the health facilities
The Department of Health has mandated the regional offices to report cases of Zika virus infection in the Philippines within 24 hours; as part of the country’s Philippine Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (PIDSR) system.
“The DOH through the Epidemiology Bureau (EB) disseminates strengthened guidelines on surveillance of the Zika Virus Disease. DOH will now include Zika Virus under Category 1 Classification on the Philippine Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response system. This means that all suspected cases of Zika virus diseases shall be reported within 24 hours to the Epidemiology Bureau (EB) through the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Units (RESU) in the country,” health secretary Janette Loreto-Garin said, as quoted by Manila Bulletin.
It was disclosed that all suspected cases will be tested for Zika virus using the testing kits called the Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR). Currently, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) is capable of testing suspected cases of Zika virus through RT PCR. The test is also available in Visayas and Mindanao.
“Samples collected from the suspected patients will be collected and send to RITM using the usual transport and packaging arrangements,” DOH-EB Director Irma Asuncion has disclosed.
Asuncion added that the RESU will “not just be reporting cases, we also have to report that there are no cases that had been seen in the health facilities.”
Other diseases that are under Category 1 are highly-transmittable diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, Ebola virus, and Influenza A (H1N1).
A suspected case, as explained by Asuncion, refers to a patient suffering from fever equal to or higher than 38 degrees centigrade for more than two days, has conjunctivitis, skin rashes, headache, muscle pain, joint pains, body weakness and pain behind the eyes.
Patients who have history of the Guillain-Barre syndrome or rapid muscle weakness can be considered suspected Zika cases.
In addition, fetus, newborn or infant, whose mother was confirmed or presumed to have contracted Zika virus during pregnancy is considered a suspected case.