Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Zika cases touch 80 in Rajasthan

Zika cases touch 80 in Rajasthan

As the number of people infected with the Zika virus rose to 80 in Rajasthan, the Union Health Ministry Tuesday directed the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to monitor the cases on a daily basis, while urging the people not to panic.

Health Minister J P Nadda chaired a high-level meeting to review the activities for prevention and control of Zika virus and stressed the need to undertake exhaustive control measures, including fogging, while strengthening surveillance to facilitate early detection of cases. 330 teams have already been deployed in affected wards of Shastri Nagar (Jaipur) and about 434515 population has been brought under surveillance as of today.

"More than 280 teams of the health department are conducting door-to-door survey and so far 96,000 houses have been surveyed".

Of the total affected people, 23 are pregnant women, said a health ministry official in Delhi, adding that the 20 new Zika cases confirmed Wednesday were from Jaipur and two neighbouring districts. During the mosquito control activities, 68 house owners were fined and Rs 44,000 have been collected as fine because larvae were found in their homes.

The outbreak surfaced in Rajasthan a month ago, and since then the cases have only increased. While briefing the media about the situation, Nadda said, "We have medicines and testing kits".

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Symptoms of the virus infection are generally mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or a headache.

Diagnosis- Since symptoms are similar to dengue, diagnosed can be done through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and virus isolation from blood samples. In 2015, a major outbreak in Brazil led to the revelation that Zika can be associated with microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with small and underdeveloped brains. "All pregnant mothers in the area are being monitored through the National Health Mission", Nadda had said last week.

States have also been asked to strengthen their surveillance systems. Carried and spread by mosquitoes, the virulent strain which targets only pregnant women and can be transmitted genetically and sexually was first discovered and so far has been contained in state capital Jaipur. Many are attributing the crisis to the state health department 's failure to show promptness and seriousness to contain the disease.

Nadda noted that community participation is a crucial area in prevention and urged all stakeholders to start rigorous awareness campaigns on the preventive steps to be taken at the community level.

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