Zika virus disease was reported on Thursday for the first time in Kerala. While one case was confirmed, 13 other suspected cases have been identified. The virus, transmitted by Aedes mosquito, was reported in Thiruvananthapuram district and an alert has been sounded across the state, said Health Minister Veena George.
The minister said the infection was reported in a 24-year-old pregnant woman, a native of Parassala, in Thiruvananthapuram. On June 28, the woman was admitted to a hospital with symptoms of mild fever, headache and red rashes on body — the sample tested positive for the virus and has been sent to NIV-Pune. Thirteen other samples are also suspected to be positive but no confirmation has come from NIV-Pune, she said.
The minister said the woman, who had a normal delivery on July 7, has no travel history, but her house is situated along the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. A week ago, her mother had similar symptoms.
Health department officials said preventive steps have been taken by the district surveillance team, the district vector control unit and the state entomology unit. Steps have been taken to collect samples of Aedes mosquitos from the areas where the virus has been reported.
There is no antiviral treatment available for Zika virus. But most patients recover from the illness within a week of infection. Pregnant women are more susceptible. The virus has an incubation period of three to 14 days. Severe disease and death are rare.