Malacañang on Monday said there is no epidemic or an outbreak of the deadly Zika virus in the Philippines.
“[Health] Secretary [Janette] Garin has pointed out this is a single case and that there is no epidemic and no outbreak,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a statement.
“Most importantly, the DoH is prepared in terms of detection, isolation and treatment of those who could possibly be infected by the virus,” Coloma said.
“Hence, the public should stay alert, informed and calm,” Coloma said.
The Department of Health confirmed that the Zika virus has resurfaced in the country, after an American tourist tested positive for the virus after visiting the country earlier this year.
Garin, however, said there is no need to panic as it is an isolated case.
Garin said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had informed her that a US resident who stayed in the Philippines for four weeks in January had apparently developed symptoms in her last week before returning to America.
“We were informed that shortly after returning home to the US, an evidence of Zika virus infection was detected from the patient,” Garin said in a statement.
“Currently, we are coordinating with US-CDC for the profile of the patient, including information on places she visited in the Philippines,” Garin said without giving details of the patient.
Health Department officials said they still had no clue how the American was infected while in the Philippines.
The only previous known case of Zika in the country was a 15-year-old boy infected in 2012. He recovered after three weeks.
The mosquito-borne disease is usually not life-threatening but has been linked to a rise in birth defects in other countries, where hundreds of babies have been born with unusually small heads in recent years.