Zika Virus Alert in India : 22 tested positive in Jaipur, PMO seeks detailed report

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The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has sought a comprehensive report from the Health Ministry on the outbreak of Zika virus, after 22 people were tested positive for the infection in Rajasthan’s Jaipur.

As one of those affected in Jaipur hailed from Bihar and visited his Siwan home recently, the eastern state has issued advisories to all its 38 districts to keep a close watch on people showing symptoms similar to Zika virus infection.

The Siwan resident, who studies in Jaipur, visited home between August 28 and September 12 to appear for an exam. His family members have been put under surveillance.

“The PMO has sought a comprehensive report on the Zika virus outbreak in Jaipur,” a senior Health Ministry official said.

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A seven-member high-level central team is in Jaipur to assist the state government in control and containment measures while a control room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to undertake regular monitoring of the situation.

The situation is being reviewed at the level of Union Minister of Health.

“Till date a total of 22 positive laboratory confirmed cases have been detected. A control room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to undertake regular monitoring of the situation,” the Health Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Twenty-two people in the city have tested positive, the health ministry said. There is no vaccine to the virus which can cause severe birth defects in unborn children.

All suspected cases in the defined area of Jaipur and mosquito samples from this area are being tested. Additional testing kits are provided to viral research and diagnostic laboratories.

The state government has been supplied with information, education and communication (IEC) material prepared to create awareness about Zika virus and its prevention strategies.

All pregnant mothers in the area are being monitored through and extensive surveillance and vector-control measures are being taken up in the area as per protocol by the state government, the official said.

Zika virus disease is an emerging disease currently being reported by 86 countries worldwide.

Symptoms of Zika virus disease are similar to other viral infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache.

In India, the first outbreak was reported in Ahmedabad in January and February 2017 and second outbreak in July, 2017 from Krishnagiri District in Tamil Nadu. Both these outbreaks were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management, the ministry said.

The disease continues to be on surveillance radars of the Union Health Ministry although it is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern under WHO notification since November 18, 2016.

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