New Delhi: The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has sought a detailed report from the Health Ministry on the outbreak of the Zika virus after 22 people were tested positive for the disease in Rajasthan’s capital city Jaipur. Zika is a mosquito-borne disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
An elderly woman was diagnosed with Zika infection in the last week of September in the first such case in Jaipur. Since then, eight more persons, including three pregnant women, have tested positive for the infection, an official said. A native of Bihar’s Siwan district, who studies in Jaipur, was among those affected. He had visited home between August 28 and September 12 to appear for an exam. The state has directed district administration, to keep an eye on people who show similar symptoms.
“It will be very difficult to identify the source of infection as majority of those infected with Zika virus disease remain asymptomatic. In all probability whosoever brought the infection remained asymptomatic and transferred the virus to someone else,” the official added.
Meanwhile, to assist the state in control and containment measures, a seven-member high-level central team has visited Jaipur. A control room has also been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to undertake regular monitoring of the situation. The situation is being reviewed at the level of Union minister of health.
Issuing a statement, the Health Ministry said,”Till date a total of 22 positive laboratory confirmed cases have been detected. A control room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to undertake regular monitoring of the situation.” All suspected cases in the defined area of Jaipur and mosquito samples from this area are being tested. Additional testing kits are provided to viral research and diagnostic laboratories.
Zika virus is an emerging disease currently being reported by 86 countries worldwide. Its symptoms are similar to other viral infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. As per the World Health Organization’s classification scheme on the prevalence of Zika virus, India is in category 2, indicating ongoing transmission of the virus.
(With inputs from agencies)