The number of Zika virus cases in Rajasthan has climbed to 55, of which 11 are pregnant women, PTI quoted a Rajasthan health department official as saying, after a review meeting, which was chaired by the additional chief secretary (medical and health) Veenu Gupta. A team of the National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR) collected fresh mosquito samples from various parts of Jaipur. According to officials, the first case was reported on September 23, following which tests established traces of the virus in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes on September 26.
According to the Union Health Ministry, after Shastri Nagar area, three students residing at Rajput hostel in neighbouring Sindhi Camp have tested positive. The virus has already been found in some mosquitoes taken as samples from Sindhi Camp while few mosquitoes collected from densely populated Shastri Nagar had already been found to be carriers of the virus leading to suspicion they are behind the spread of the infection.
Preventive measures like fogging and other anti-larvae activities are being carried out in the Shastri Nagar area and the health department has issued an advisory for pregnant women staying outside Shastri Nagar not to visit the area. A review meeting was held to take stock of the situation and discuss the measures to be taken. A control room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control and the number of monitoring teams in Jaipur has been increased from 50 to 170.
Meanwhile, a special isolation ward was created at the Hira Bagh Training Centre to treat Zika virus-affected patients and at least 38 of the total cases showed improvement in health following the treatment, a health department official said.
To spread awareness about the virus and prevention strategies, the Rajasthan government has been provided information, education and communication (IEC) material.
The first outbreak of Zika virus in India was reported in Ahmedabad in January 2017 and the second in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district in July that year. Both these outbreaks were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management.
Symptoms of Zika virus infection include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain. It is harmful to pregnant women, as it can lead to microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head is significantly smaller than expected, in newborn children.
As per the World Health Organisation, there is no treatment available for Zika virus infection or its associated diseases.