THE Archdiocese of Manila has joined the fight against the spread of the Zika virus.
Manila Archbishiop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle joined in spreading the word to children and families about the Zika virus as the number of cases continues to rise in the country.
The cardinal has issued a pastoral guidance which aims to help raise awareness about the mosquito-borne disease linked to serious birth defects.
Eradicating potential mosquito breeding sites and protecting pregnant women are among the key messages of the guideline released this month to parishes and Catholic schools in Manila.
The cardinal particularly asked the faithful to adopt the “4S” strategy of the Department of Health against the mosquito carrying Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases.
The 4S means Search and destroy mosquito-breeding places, use Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation for fever lasting more than 2 days and Say yes to fogging when there is an impending outbreak.
The cardinal also said everyone should be attentive to the following symptoms: fever, rash, joint pains, malaise, headache and conjunctivitis.
He said if symptoms persist, one should seek medical care and advice.
“Let us pray that God may protect us. Let us take preventive methods by providing protection to our homes, parishes, and the whole community,” Tagle said.
Last Friday, the DoH sought the commitment of local government units and other sectors in its campaign against the Zika virus.
“DoH is incessantly working on its advocacy to strengthen the 4S strategy together with local government units,” Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said in a statement.
The health department on Friday held the first National Summit on Zika Virus, with the aim of disseminating new information and findings on the mosquito-borne disease to members of different sectors all over the country.
Since the index case recorded in Iloilo on Sept. 2, the DoH has identified 19 confirmed cases of Zika virus: 12 from Western Visayas, three from National Capital Region, three from Calabarzon, and one from Central Visayas.
The two most recent cases have been identified in Cavite, involving a boy and a woman.
With these developments, Ubial said the DoH has reinforced its plans to prevent Zika virus cases from increasing.
Aside from providing logistics support such as insecticides and fogging machines to Zika hotspots in the country, the DoH will purchase equipment for laboratory tests.
“A total of P16.5 million is provided by DoH for the procurement of Real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction test to RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine), PCR test for the sub-national laboratories, and vector surveillance in selected ports and airports,” Ubial said.
Dr. Socorro Lupisan of the RITM said the P16.5 million fund will be able procure at least 7,000 test kits and other necessary equipment.
Ubial said the department has an ongoing procurement of Zika pregnancy package for Zika hotspot areas, which will include three bottles of insect repellent, one single treated bed net, and two brochures containing information on Zika and 4S Strategy.
The DOH also warned that the public should not only focus on Zika virus as other mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue and Chikungunya virus, have almost the same symptoms as Zika.
“We can’t absolutely differentiate Zika from dengue and Chikungunya,” said Dr. Bernard Caspe of the Iloilo Health Office.
The department added that there are also cases when a person who contracted the virus did not show any symptom at all.
Ubial thus urged the public to participate in the information dissemination campaign against Zika.
“We need the untiring cooperation of everyone in this battle against Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases,” she said.