WHO says India reports cases of Zika virus

Zika Virus Testing Market

The mosquito-borne Zika virus disease has spread to more than 60 countries.

Zika virus disease has reached India, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirming first three cases in Gujarat's Ahmedabad. This was further confirmed at the national reference laboratory at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune on January 4 this year. Two additional cases were identified through surveillance. These samples were collected at BJ Medical College (BJMC) which is in Ahmedabad Gujrat.

"A few Zika cases were reported earlier; we took action in accordance with guidelines of WHO and government of India", the health minister said, adding, "Presently there are no cases of Zika virus in Gujarat".

One of the cases is a 34-year woman, who had no history of traveling in the last three months from when her sample was taken on November 9, 2016. During her hospital stay, she developed a low grade fever after delivery. However, the woman had no history of fever during pregnancy or that of travel in the last three months.

Given the threat the Zika virus poses to foetuses, a nationwide newborn screening programme has been looking for microcephaly in 55 medical colleges, designated as "sentinel" sites, over the past year. This happened on the 9thf November 2016. Lab results of RT-PCR tests conducted on 204 blood samples revealed three were carrying the Zika strain.

Case no. 3: This is the case from BJMC too.

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An Inter-Ministerial Task Force has been set up under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) together with Secretary (Bio-Technology), and Secretary (Department of Health Research).

Joint Monitoring Group, a technical group tasked to monitor emerging and re-emerging diseases, is regularly reviewing the global situation on Zika virus disease.

All the global airports and ports have been asked to display relevant information in this regard for travellers.

A vacuum tube holds a blood-fed strain of Aedes aegypti - the mosquito that carries the Zika virus - in place under a microscope in a research lab insectary in the Hanson Biomedical Sciences Building at UW-Madison. The head of Indian Council of Medical Research said all three people have now recovered. Incidentally, all the samples that tested positive were collected at BJMC.

The similarities between the monkey pregnancies and reported complications in Zika-affected human pregnancies further establish Zika infection in monkeys as a way to study the progression of the infection and associated health problems in people.

Risk communication materials are being finalized by the Central Health Education Bureau, in consultation with UNICEF. Ahmedabad has always been the first to report outbreaks.So either we have a lot of illnesses or we are reporting better than other states. World Health Organization termed the findings "lowlevel transmission" but warned that new cases of the disease linked to babies born with underdeveloped brains could occur in the future.

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