India reports 1st 3 cases of Zika virus infection

Responding to a question on the issue on March 17, Union Minister of State for Health had said, "So far, only one case of laboratory-positive Zika virus disease has been detected in Ahmedabad, India as part of routine laboratory surveillance in January 2017". The patients all reside in the Bapunagar area in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. These cases were further confirmed by another RT-PCR test at the country's National Institute of Virology (NIV).

The blood samples were tested at the BJ Medical College in the city.

Health Ministry officials said Sunday that the three patients in western Gujarat state had recovered. In November, a 34-year-old pregnant woman presented with Zika after she visited the same facility complaining of a low-grade fever.

The WHO also recommends basic precautions to be taken by people traveling to high risk areas, especially pregnant women.

A 34-yr-old female was tested positive for Zika after giving birth to her child with no history of fever during pregnancy or that of travel. This happened on the 9thf November 2016. The International body also confirmed the evidence on the circulation of the virus in India. Even as the latest case was that of a pregnant woman who tested positive in January this year, the first case was in February last year, the Indian Express report said.

The WHO had previous year declared Zika as a public health emergency after South American countries reported babies with microcephaly, a brain malformation marked by low head circumference, born to pregnant women known to have been infected with Zika.

Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Shalini Rajneesh told The Hindu that Health officials had been regularly screening passengers arriving from endemic countries at airports in Bengaluru and Mangaluru.

The virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito.

Meanwhile, all worldwide airports and ports have been asked to display on Zika information.

According to NDTV, India has tested nearly 50,000 blood samples as part of its surveillance system to detect and contain new Zika infections.

India, like other nations across the world, had responded to the WHO call by establishing a nationwide network of 40 surveillance laboratories, coordinated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), to examine human blood samples and mosquitoes for Zika. Out of these cases, at least 500 mosquito samples have been collected from Bapunagar area in Ahmedabad district of Gujarat.

The Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) is monitoring microcephaly from 55 sentinel sites.

Report to the nearest health facility, if you feel any of the symptoms set in.

The World Health Organisation confirmed three cases of Zika.

"These findings suggest low level transmission of Zika virus and new cases may occur in the future", it said.

A Zika virus outbreak hit South America in 2015 and 2016.

There is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same mosquito that transmits dengue and chikungunya.Its name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947.

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