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Philippine bishops urge Catholics to help fight Zika virus

Government says there are eight known cases in the country

September 14, 2016

Catholic bishops in the Philippines are urging Catholics to help stop the spread of the Zika virus in the country by taking the necessary precautions.

"Let us be mindful of our surroundings," Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila said Sept. 14.

Bishop Pabillo, chairman of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity, warned that mosquitoes can also carry other diseases, such as dengue and malaria.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga warned Filipinos working abroad to be more careful because they are the "most vulnerable to fast-spreading viruses."

"We remind our overseas Filipino workers, migrants, itinerants to be particularly mindful of this disease," said Bishop Santos.

The Philippine Department of Health reported on Sept. 13 that the number of Zika cases in the country has climbed to eight after two new patients tested positive for the virus.

People with the virus can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. However, for pregnant women, the virus can have serious effects on their unborn child such as microcephaly — severe brain malformations, and other birth defects

The virus is primarily transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.

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