Indore: Health department issues alert for Zika virus

The health secretary said the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation was not informed about the cases as they were "isolated" and "to avoid panic".

Ironically the Gujarat government launched its free Gujarat from Malaria by 2022 campaign in Ahmedabad on 24th May, and has made notifiable only cases of dengue, malaria and chikun gunya, not all fever cases.

The WHO noted these first three Zika cases in India on May 15, detecting it via routine blood surveillance in a hospital in Ahmedabad, the capital city of Gujarat.

The etiology of this case has been further confirmed through a positive RT-PCR test and sequencing at the national reference laboratory, National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune on 4 January 2017 (case 2, below).

The first case, of a 64-year-old male, was detected during an Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) surveillance in February 2016.

He further said that all three cases are old and and have shown no complications till now.

In the third case, a 22-year-old pregnant lady had been infected with the life threatening virus.

According to NDTV, India has tested nearly 50,000 blood samples as part of its surveillance system to detect and contain new Zika infections. "These are not fresh cases", said a Union health ministry official.

A science journal article suggests that antibodies from dengue or West Nile virus might create a risk for more severe cases of the Zika virus. The Second case found in November and the latest one in this January.

If traveling to affected areas, strictly follow individual protective measures to prevent mosquito bites. Two of the three patients in western Gujarat were pregnant women who delivered healthy babies.

In India 50,000 samples have been taken to test Zika virus.

Among the many institutions taking control of the situation, the Indian Council of Medical Research, NIV, Pune, National Center For Disease Control in Delhi, and 25 other laboratories are continuously testing both human and mosquito samples for the presence of Zika virus.

The Zika is a virus similar to the Dengue, and is carried by the edes Aegypti mosquito, which is present in surplus in the country.

"We want to assure people that due care has been taken to check the possibility of spread of the Zika virus after its first detection".

The virus induces symptoms like body ache and fever or often comes without symptoms, making it hard for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected. World Health Organization doesn't recommend any travel or trade restriction to India based on the current information available.

While WHO says it is asking the government of India to be vigilant in their preventative efforts against Zika, it also is not recommending any travel restrictions to India at this time.

  • Joanne Flowers