After three cases of the Zika virus were reported in Ahmedabad earlier this year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to take up measures to ensure its medical facilities are able to deal with such cases. The BMC will soon take up an education programme for staffers at the secondary and tertiary medical centres in the city to spread awareness about the treatment of Zika.
Civic officials said the administration had prepared a protocol for the Zika infection after a scare broke out over it in 2014. Additional Municipal Commissioner Idzes Kundan said, “Even though no case has been reported from Maharashtra and we haven’t received any orders from the state, we are on high alert. We are taking precautions and are referring to a protocol prepared by us.” Kundan added the preventive measures are similar to those for dengue and malaria.
Kundan said pregnant women were being tested for the virus and infants were being screened for abnormalities. Three laboratory tested positive cases were declared by the WHO recently, with the first case confirmed in November last year from Bapunagar slum in Ahmedabad. “We are not actively checking those coming to Mumbai from Ahmedabad. But a general advisory will be sent to all health posts to look for symptoms,” said executive health officer Dr Padmaja Keskar.
Zika infection is caused by Aedes aegypti mosquito that is also known to cause dengue. The disease leads to birth abnormalities such as microcephaly in newborns. The epidemic had affected parts of America, Africa and Asia and has no vaccine to prevent it.