Rio athlete quarantined in Bengaluru after suspicion of Zika infection

  • Rhythma Kaul, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 22, 2016 22:24 IST
Sudha Singh has been quarantined at the Fortis Hospital in Bengaluru on suspicion of Zika virus infection. (File Photo)

Rio Olympics athlete Sudha Singh has been quarantined at the Fortis Hospital in Bengaluru on suspicion of Zika virus infection.

Blood samples of the 30-year-old long-distance runner, who participated in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase in Rio, were sent to the Pune-based National Institute of Virology for testing after she came down with fever and joint pain upon her return from the Brazilian city on Saturday.

“Rapid tests for dengue and chikungunya returned negative, and the results for zika will be out in 48 hours. She has been isolated at the hospital as a precautionary measure,” said CK Mishra, secretary, ministry of health and family welfare.

Zika is 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.

“Singh is suffering from severe dehydration, which also causes high temperature. She is being kept inside a mosquito net in an isolation room to ensure that the zika infection – if she has it – does not spread to others,” said Dr BD Athani, special director general in charge of the case at the Union health ministry.

A scientist from the National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi will leave for Bengaluru on Tuesday to assist local health authorities in this regard.

At present, Karnataka’s state surveillance unit is closely monitoring the case. “As a precaution, we have alerted surveillance units in Maharastra and Kerala to keep an eye on two other athletes who shared an apartment with Singh in Rio,” Dr Athani said.

Kavita Raut, a marathon runner from Maharashtra, told HT that she has given samples of her urine and blood to the Nasik Civil Hospital. The athlete denied suffering from bodyache, though she did admit to having a mild cough.

Authorities were yet to track the third roommate, athlete OP Jaisha, who has gone home to Kerala.

The Airport Health Authority has been asked to isolate and test all passengers with high fever, joint pain and bodyache returning from Zika-affected countries.

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