New Delhi: The government is revisiting strategies to deal with Zika virus disease, with cases being reported from closer home.
Union health ministry is in the process of developing a comprehensive combat plan that is expected to be ready in two weeks.
“We have competent agencies such as Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Centre for Disease Control that have been directed to develop a comprehensive Zika virus disease strategic response framework and action plan. It will be ready soon,” said health minister JP Nadda.
“Our planning has to be exhaustive because the only way to stop the spread of Zika in our country is by stopping its entry.”
Since February this year, when Zika surveillance began in the country, 15,022 human samples and 6,000 Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have been tested by the ICMR for the presence of Zika Virus, and none have returned positive.
Under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), microcephaly- a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than normal, is also being monitored from 55 hospitals. Microcephaly is one of the side-effects of the Zika virus disease, if a pregnant woman gets infected.
A total of 165 microcephaly cases have been reported between February 2016 and August 2016.
“As of now, there has been no increase in the number of cases if microcephaly or clustering of the condition that could reflect infection within the community,” said Nadda.
The ministry has revised the travel advisory, which is uploaded on its website— www.mohfw.nic.in.
“We have reiterated that non-essential travel to affected countries be deferred and pregnant women should not travel to these countries,” said Dr P Ravindran from the health ministry.
A 24X7 control room—011-23061469, is already functioning under the Directorate General of Health Services, where an expert is present to answer queries related to Zika.