The Zika virus may be lying in wait for India with the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirming first three cases – all from Gujarat.
The WHO-endorsed results of the laboratory tests conducted in the country, said all three cases, including that of a pregnant woman, were reported from Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad. According to WHO, routine surveillance detected a laboratory-confirmed case of Zika virus disease through RT-PCR test at B J Medical College in Ahmedabad. So far only three Zika cases have been detected in around 50,000 samples tested as part of the surveillance system to detect and contain new infections.
Measures in force
1. WHO said soon after the cases were reported, the Health Ministry had shared the national guidelines.
2. An action plan on Zika virus disease has been shared with the states to prevent an outbreak of the disease and containment of spread in case of any outbreak.
3. An inter-ministerial task force has been set up.
4. A technical group tasked to monitor emerging and re-emerging diseases regularly reviewed the global situation on Zika virus disease.
5. International airports and ports have put up information for travellers on Zika virus disease while the airport health officers along with airport organisations, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme are monitoring appropriate vector control measures in airport premises.
6. In addition to National Institute of Virology and NCDC in Delhi, 25 laboratories have also been reinforced by Indian Council of Medical Research for laboratory diagnosis, while three entomological laboratories are conducting Zika virus testing on mosquito samples.
The disease is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes and those infected with the virus may have mild fever, develop skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain or headache. These symptoms normally last for two to seven days. An infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects in newborns known as microcephaly.
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