New Delhi: Rio athlete Sudha Singh, quarantined in a Bengaluru hospital over Zika suspicion, has tested negative for the mosquito-borne viral infection.
“The blood sample was tested on a priority basis and has retuned negative for Zika and other mosquito-borne infections such as dengue and chikungunya. She most likely is suffering from seasonal flu,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, director general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Thirty-year-old Singh’s blood sample was sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune, which along with National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi have the capacity to test for Zika Virus Disease.
The test is not commercially available.
As a precautionary measure, Union health ministry, has alerted all airport health orgainsations to look out for any Zika-like symptoms in athletes or people returning from Zika-affected countries.
“We have sent out an alert, and if there is anyone with symptoms, the person should be quarantined as a precautionary measure,” said a senior health ministry official.
All major airports and ports will have signboards, asking travelers coming from Zika-affected countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean to report to a doctor if they experience symptoms such as high fever, joint pain, conjunctivitis, body ache, rash and nausea.
The transmission of the virus mostly takes place when the infected person is running fever.
Health ministry has a joint-monitoring committee in place that reviews the situation arising out of spread of Zika Virus in other countries on a weekly basis, and advises on the necessary steps that need to be taken.
The ministry has also asked country’s top research body- ICMR, to strengthen six more laboratories to screen samples, if there is a need.
Like dengue and chinkungunya, Zika Virus Disease is also spread through the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Ever since the first case emerged a little over a year ago, 67 countries have reported zika cases.