Zika detected in India: Gujarat Health Minister requests for calm

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With cases of Zika virus being reported from Ahmedabad, Gujarat Health Minister Shankar Chaudhary on Sunday asserted that there was no need to be worried as actions have been taken in accordance to the guidelines of World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Government of India.

Chaudhary said that the Centre and the state government are fully ready to deal with any kind of epidemic, while adding that the reported cases of Zika have also been cured and no new case has cropped up.

"Health department of the Centre and the state is ready and equipped to combat any virus or epidemic. When cases of Zika virus were reported from Ahmedabad, so according to the WHO protocol we took action accordingly because of which the virus could not spread," said Chaudhary.

'The people who were diagnosed of the virus are now fit and have been cured. And no new case of Zika has been found in Gujarat, so I request all to not panic," he added.

Asserting that India has a strong surveillance system to detect and contain new Zika virus infection, the Union Health Ministry yesterday requested the nation to remain calm.

Hours after the WHO confirmed the first three cases of Zika Virus, including a pregnant woman in India, sources in the Health Ministry said that it is closely monitoring the situation.

The Health Ministry further said that both the pregnant lady and the child are safe and healthy.

The ministry clarified that only three Zika cases have been detected in a round of 50, 000 tests, adding that no mosquitoes were detected positive. The state health departments are all following standard protocols on the same.

The Health Ministry has reported three laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus disease in Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

According to the WHO, "One sample from a 64-year-old male presenting with febrile illness of 8 days' duration (negative for dengue infection) was found to be positive for Zika virus at BJMC, Ahmedabad. This is the first Zika positive case reported through AFI surveillance at BJMC, Ahmedabad, Gujarat State."

Another case was reported by a 34-year-old female, who delivered a clinically well baby, at the BJMC in Ahmedabad on November 9 in 2016 and her sample was referred to the Viral Research & Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) at the BJMC for dengue testing and thereafter found to be positive for Zika Virus. The sample was re-confirmed as Zika Virus positive by RT-PCR and sequencing at NIV, Pune, as per the reports.

The third sample, taken from a 22-year-old pregnant female in her 37th week of pregnancy, has also been tested positive for Zika virus disease.

These findings suggest low level transmission of Zika virus and new cases may occur in the future.

"Efforts to strengthen surveillance should be maintained in order to better characterise the intensity of the viral circulation and geographical spread and monitor Zika virus related complications," the WHO said. (ANI)
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