Zika virus alert for Bihar after Siwan youth in Jaipur tests positive
The Centre on Sunday sounded an alert for Bihar after a man from Siwan, studying in Jaipur, tested positive for the extremely rare Zika virus.
Pankaj Chourasia, 22, a student of computer science, tested positive for the Zika virus in Jaipur recently. He was in Siwan between August 28 and September 12 to appear for an exam.
“The central surveillance unit of the ministry of health and family welfare notified us today about the Zika-positive patient who had visited Bihar,” said state epidemiologist Dr Ragini Mishra of the State Health Society, Bihar. Based on the Centre’s alert, the Bihar health department immediately dispatched a team to Siwan on Sunday to take all eight family members of Chourasia under surveillance, she added.
“None of Chourasia’s family members showed symptoms of the Zika virus. However, we are careful as one of the family members is pregnant. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her foetus... They will be kept under surveillance for the next 26 days...,” added Dr Mishra. She said it was unlikely that Chourasia would have contacted the virus in Bihar.
Not taking any chances, Bihar has sounded an alert and issued advisory to all its 38 districts, said Dr Mishra.
“We have asked all our districts to report cases of fever and microcephaly ( a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development). They have been told to send all such samples to the viral research and diagnostic laboratories for confirmatory tests of rare virus strains like Zika,” she said.
“We have come to know that the disease was contracted from the same district in Rajasthan and not Bihar. The disease has not spread to another state. The ministry and the WHO are taking appropriate measures. There has been additional fogging and the person has been kept under home-based isolation and extreme care is being taken that he is not bitten by mosquitoes,” said a senior health ministry official on condition of anonymity.
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