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Gujarat says taking action to fight Zika

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-05-2017 Maulik Pathak

Ahmedabad: Gujarat on Sunday confirmed a World Health Organization (WHO) report issued the previous day about the detection of India’s first three cases of mosquito-borne Zika disease in the state, adding that it was taking steps to prevent its spread.

The WHO report had said the findings suggest “low level transmission of Zika virus” and that new cases may occur in the future.

A government statement said it has issued guidelines regarding prevention and control of the disease to all districts and corporations. It has also issued an advisory for screening all pregnant women. It also pointed to ongoing fogging, anti-larval activity and health education. The government has also conducted various training programmes for healthcare staff.

Focus is being given to mosquito breeding prevention and source reduction inside as well as outside the houses under the initiative, it said.

The WHO report had said there was significant risk of the further spread of the virus and recommended that governments push ahead with efforts to control mosquitoes.

The agency, however, did not recommend any curbs on travel to India.

Zika fever is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which also transmits diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya. The best option available to prevent the transmission of Zika virus is to prevent the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes by eliminating the sources of breeding.

There is no specific treatment or medicine is available for this disease; it is a self-limiting disease, which requires only symptomatic treatment and rest. Symptoms are fever, joint pain, muscle pain, red eyes, rashes on the body and head ache. As per available data and information, a patient of Zika fever does not require hospitalization and mortality is also not reported, according to the government release. If a pregnant woman is infected with Zika virus, then the child can have microcephaly, it added.

On 15 May, the Union health ministry reported three laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus disease in Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad District, WHO had said.

The routine surveillance detected a laboratory-confirmed case of Zika virus disease through RT-PCR test at B J Medical College in Ahmedabad, it said.

During the period of 10 February to 16 February in 2016, a total 93 blood samples were collected at BJ Medical College (BJMC) out of which one sample from a 64-year-old male had tested positive for Zika virus.

“This was first Zika positive case reported through AFI surveillance from Gujarat,” according to the WHO statement.

WHO said two additional cases were then identified through the Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) and the Antenatal clinic (ANC) surveillance, both in Ahmedabad.

In another instance, a 34-year-old woman delivered a clinically well baby at BJMC in Ahmedabad on 9 November 2016. During her hospital stay, she developed a low grade fever after delivery. The woman had no history of fever during pregnancy and no history of travel for the past three months was reported. A sample from the patient was referred to the Viral Research & Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) at the BJMC for dengue testing and thereafter found to be positive for Zika virus. “She was discharged after one week (on 16 November 2016). The sample was re-confirmed as Zika virus positive by RT-PCR and sequencing at NIV, Pun,” said WHO.

Besides, a 22-year-old pregnant woman in her 37th week of pregnancy was tested positive for Zika virus disease at the same hospital.

The first case of Zika fever was reported in 1947. As per WHO, so far, 67 countries have reported Zika fever.

Maximum Zika fever cases have been reported from Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Surinam. As many as 80% of the patients who are infected with Zika virus are asymptomatic, the government release said.

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