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Tamil Nadu becomes second Indian state to report Zika infection

A 27-year-old was found to be carrying the Zika infection, that officials believe was locally acquired.

health Updated: Jul 11, 2017 11:22 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Zika,Tamil Nadu,Health Ministry
Mosquito-borne Zika Virus Disease continues to remain a global public health concern .(Shutterstock)

Tamil Nadu became the second state of the country to report the Zika infection on Monday. India’s fourth Zika case and the first one from Tamil Nadu is a 27-year-old tailor with no history of travel to the affected regions, officials confirmed.

Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti in tropical regions. This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

“The transmission has not taken place from any Zika-affected country. We suspect that the man is locally infected,” said J Radhakrishnan Tamil Nadu’s health secretary. While the man has recovered completely as per health officials, the local spread of the virus is a major concern.

Health officials however said that there is no need to worry since not a single individual from the man’s family or locality have tested positive for the deadly virus. The infection was detected during a routine visit.

On May 15, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) reported three laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus disease in Bapunagar area in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, for the first time. The victims, including a pregnant woman were detected in February last year, the second in November and the latest one this January. However, the government only released the information this May, attracting criticism.

WHO termed the findings “low-level transmission” but warned that new cases of the disease linked to babies born with underdeveloped brains could occur in the future.

Only last year, the union government had put planned a mammoth exercise to measure the head circumference of every child born in the country to find out if there is any sudden rise of microcephaly cases — a birth defect that causes abnormally small heads in newborns which is a symptom of the Zika infection.

Key facts about Zika

Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes.

People with Zika can have symptoms including mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.

The symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.

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

Links to other neurological complications are also being investigated.

First Published: Jul 11, 2017 11:21 IST