A week after the World Health Organisation(WHO) confirmed three cases of Zika virus in Ahmedabad, the Punjab health department has decided to issue a fresh alert to all civil surgeons. Punjab Health Minister Brahm Mohindra told Chandigarh Newsline that after three cases were reported in the country, the health department is taking “preventive measures and monitoring of all the districts has been intensified.”
The health department officials also informed that a fresh alert is being issued to all districts. “When Zika virus cases were reported last year in some countries, we had then issued directions to our civil surgeons to remain alert and focus on prevention and control of mosquitoes,” said Dr Gagandeep Singh Grover, nodal officer, Punjab’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme(IDSP). “We will again issue fresh directions now,” he added.
The Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. “Since it is the same mosquito which spreads vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya, our prime focus is to prevention breeding of the Aedes mosquitoes,” said Grover.
He added that IDSP is also working with other divisions of the health department in monitoring the situation. “Zika virus can cause birth defects in a newborn termed as microcephaly. We are working in collaboration with other division of the health department to monitor the cases of microcephaly in the state,” Grover added. According to the Punjab health department, no sample has been sent so far to PGIMER, Chandigarh. WHO has already advised people travelling to high risk areas, especially pregnant women to take “basic precautions from mosquito bites”.