THE Department of Health said Thursday it is testing some Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes to see if the Zika virus could be transmitted in the country.
The department made the statement even as the United States started a clinical trial of a candidate vaccine against the disease.
The US will evaluate the vaccine’s “safety and ability to generate an immune system response in participants,” according to the National Institutes of Health that launched the test.
“In Florida, they catch mosquitoes to see if they have the virus in their own mosquitoes. We also do it here,” said Health department spokesman Eric Tayag said.
“That’s why we will know if there are cases already,” he said. Zika is spread mostly through mosquito bites when people travel to countries that have the virus. Other methods of transmission include sexual intercourse, pregnancy and blood transfusion.
“They [the experts] are looking at the potential of [transmission] through blood because it will affect blood donation,” Tayag said.
Earlier, the Health department cleared Filipino athletes to travel to Brazil for the 2016 Rio Olympics despite the threat of Zika.
Brazil is one of countries where the virus is transmitted, and that has discouraged some athletes from going to Rio de Janeiro to compete.
The Health department, however, provided the Filipino athletes with some protection.
“We gave them self-protective tools like insect repellents,” Tayag said.
“We want them to bring the gold medals.”