With four more infections reported on Tuesday, the number of confirmed Zika virus cases in Kerala has now risen to 23 — all the cases have been reported from Thiruvananthapuram.
Health Minister Veena George said an alert has been sounded across Kerala. She said the virus spreads through the bite of the Aedes mosquito and preventive steps will be boosted in districts such as Thiruvananthapuram which reported many incidents of dengue in the last few years. The spurt in the number of dengue and chikungunya cases has also triggered concern as the same mosquito spreads these viral infections.
Health department sources said vector control measures have been strengthened across the state and steps have been initiated to find the source of the infection. At hospitals, fever cases will be subjected to a Zika virus test.
The minister said pregnant women should take extra care. In case of infection in the early stage of pregnancy, there is a high chance of the baby being born with a congenital defect of microcephaly (underdeveloped brain).