The World Health Organization (WHO) just announced that three cases of Zika virus have been recorded in India. Because of this, authorities are working closely together to prevent an outbreak of the disease.
Three Separate Cases Of Zika
On May 15, India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) informed WHO of three separate, laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus disease in the Bapunagar area, Ahmedabad District. The cases were detected and confirmed by a routine laboratory surveillance via RT-PCR test at the B.J. Medical College (BJMC) in Ahmedabad. These cases were further confirmed by another RT-PCR test at the country’s National Institute of Virology (NIV).
The three cases were recorded between February of 2016 and January of 2017. The first case was detected during a routine Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) surveillance at BJMC. Among the 93 samples gathered during the surveillance, one sample from a 64-year-old male who had been sick for 8 days tested negative for Dengue fever but tested positive for Zika virus disease. This is the first case of Zika virus disease at BJMC in Gujarat State.
The second case of Zika virus came months later in November of 2016 after a woman gave birth to a healthy baby. She had no history of any fever during her pregnancy, nor did she have any travel history during the preceding months but had developed a low-grade fever during her stay at the hospital. A sample of her blood was sent to be tested for dengue fever, but she instead tested positive for Zika virus disease. The sample’s positive result was re-confirmed at the NIV.
In January of 2017, 111 blood samples were gathered and tested during an Antenatal Clinic surveillance at BJMC. Among them, one sample from a 22-year-old female turned out positive for Zika virus disease. she was 37-weeks pregnant at the time.
Public Health Response
National guidelines have already been shared across the states of India to prevent an outbreak of Zika virus disease. Further, an inter-ministerial task force was created in order to monitor emerging cases in the country, as well as to review the global situation on Zika virus disease.
Among the many institutions taking control of the situation, the Indian Council of Medical Research, NIV, Pune, National Center For Disease Control in Delhi, and 25 other laboratories are continuously testing both human and mosquito samples for the presence of Zika virus.
WHO is consistently monitoring the situation in India, and advises people in high-risk areas or those traveling to such places to take the necessary precautions to prevent contracting the disease. This includes spraying pesticides and wearing insect repellents, long-sleeved shirts, and pants. Rooms are also advised to be protected with screens to prevent carrier mosquitoes from entering the premises.
No travel or trade restrictions are currently placed on India based on the assessment of current information.