Madhya Pradesh sees 3 more Zika cases, second outbreak in 2 months
Three cases were confirmed in Bhopal, Vidisha and Sehore districts in Madhya Pradesh, within two months of an 85-year-old woman testing positive on September 21 in Jaipur, where the virus infected 160 persons.Updated: Nov 02, 2018, 23:46 IST
Three cases of Zika virus were confirmed in Madhya Pradesh by the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, on Friday, taking the total cases in India’s biggest outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease to 163.
The three cases were confirmed in Bhopal, Vidisha and Sehore districts in Madhya Pradesh, within two months of an 85-year-old woman testing positive on September 21 in Jaipur, where the virus infected 160 people. A joint team of experts from the Union health ministry’s emergency medical response wing and Delhi-based National Centre for Disease Control is investigating if the disease spread to Madhya Pradesh from Rajasthan or whether there are other sources of infection.
P Ravindran, director of Emergency Medical Relief, said, “There is no need to panic as the disease has mild symptoms and mortality rate is zero in India. However, pregnant women are more susceptible to the disease as it causes birth defects like microcepahly in the new born.”
“In the past two years, we collected samples from 450,00 mosquitoes from different parts of the country to check the presence of the virus. Our teams are working both on containment and awareness,” he added.
A senior official in the health ministry, requesting anonymity, said, “It is a focal outbreak because it is still limited to a small focal area. So far, there seems to be a travel history in many of the positive cases as Jaipur is a popular tourist destination from where the cases were first reported. Since the disease is asymptomatic in around 80%, many a time people don’t they have the infection and don’t take precautions to limit infections. Also, it is self-limiting and many people get better without any treatment, so mild cases may go undetected.”
The Zika virus is transmitted through the aedes aegypti mosquito and causes symptoms of fever, skin rashes, muscle and joint pain. It has not caused severe disease or death, with pregnant women being the most at risk. The treatment is generic and there is no vaccine.
Zika has been reported in 86 countries, with the biggest outbreak occurring in Brazil in 2015. It was first reported in India in Gujarat in February, 2017, when three people tested positive, followed by one case in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, in July 2017.
A health advisory with standard guidelines about prevention against the spread of infection was issued to all states last week. “Our experts are looking into the matter, and there is no cause for concern as of now,” said Sanjeeva Kumar, additional secretary, health.