There are three new cases of the Zika virus in the Philippines, and all have been confirmed to be locally transmitted, the Department of Health announced on Monday.
The Health department however has yet to establish if the virus had been transmitted through other means like sexual intercourse, needle prick, or blood donations in the recent cases, Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial said.
At least 12 Zika cases have been recorded in the Philippines since 2012. But none of those infected had traveled a month before testing positive and all had since recovered.
Of the 12 cases, 8 were females while age ranged from 9 years to 55 years, Ubial said.
A 22-year-old woman, who is 19 weeks pregnant with her first child, is among the newest cases of Filipinos recorded with Zika.
Initial ultrasound "did not detect any fetal abnormalities, but will be monitored regularly," said Ubial.
Special teams have been dispatched to all the affected areas to investigate where the infection came from and recommend measures to deal with the virus, which can be spread by the bite of a mosquito or via sexual contact.
Zika, which is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, 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.
The DOH has advised citizens who are experiencing Zika symptoms -- skin rashes, fever, red eyes, and headache -- to immediately consult doctors.
Ubial also called on the public to destroy mosquito breeding places, use insect repellent and wear condoms during sex.
Scientists warned this month that the world should prepare for a "global epidemic" of microcephaly due to Zika as there is no cure or vaccine for the disease.
-- With reports from Kori Quintos, ABS-CBN News