Amidst the outbreak of the Corona epidemic in Kerala, now the threat of the Zika virus is also looming. A high alert has been sounded in all the districts of the state after 14 people, including a pregnant woman, were confirmed to be infected with the mosquito-borne virus. This is the first time that cases of the Zika virus have been reported in Kerala. At the same time, in view of the increasing cases of the Zika virus in Kerala, the neighboring state of Karnataka has issued guidelines to prevent the spread of this disease.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Friday that the state health department has prepared an action plan to contain the spread of Zika virus. Addressing a press conference, the Health Minister said that out of 19 samples sent from Thiruvananthapuram district to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, 13 have tested positive for Zika.
George said all the 13 infected are health workers working in a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. They all lived near a city hospital. Immediate action will be taken after checking those areas of the city and their travel history. In addition, a 24-year-old woman was diagnosed with the disease during her investigation the previous day. Along with this, the disease has been confirmed in 14 people.
Elaborating on the action plan, he said, “Stringent preventive measures will be taken focusing on areas and hospitals where the disease is likely to be reported. Mosquito control is of paramount importance. Coordinated action will be taken by various departments. The Health Minister further said that all the district medical officers have been asked to remain alert and there is nothing to panic about at the moment.
He said that all hospitals should be alert. The laboratory facility for the detection of the Zika virus will be increased. Cases outside medical colleges will also be tested in a public health laboratory. Along with this, an awareness campaign will be conducted. He urged people with symptoms like fever, headache, body aches or red spots to seek medical attention immediately and inform the health authorities.
Infection is mainly caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day. Symptoms of this disease include mild fever, skin rash and joint pain and headache. Infection with the Zika virus during pregnancy can cause babies to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome. Infection with the Zika virus is also associated with other pregnancy complications, including premature birth and miscarriage. Earlier in the year 2016-17, there was an outbreak of Zika in Gujarat.