Health Ministry confirms cases of Zika Virus in Gujarat

New Delhi [India]: The Health Ministry on Thursday confirmed that the blood sample collected during laboratory surveillance from Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation tested positive for Zika virus.

As per the statement issued by the Health Ministry the sample was re-tested at National Institute of Virology, Pune and was further confirmed through positive RT-PCR test and virus sequencing at National Institute of Virology.

The sample belonged from a 34-year-old female patient admitted to the hospital with complaints of fever following delivery of a healthy baby.

The Health Ministry further stated that following the first case, the surveillance was strengthened and thousands of blood samples were tested.

Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) surveillance and testing of antenatal cases were undertaken by the Gujarat Government, in which total two more cases of laboratory confirmed Zika virus disease.

The statement said that the as a matter of abundant caution, measures to contain local transmission were carried out in the affected area.

As per the statement the ongoing country-wide Zika laboratory based surveillance in India has so far tested 36613 human samples and 16571 mosquito samples for the presence of Zika virus.

To prevent the transmission of Virus the government has been taking numerous steps.

Following the Declaration of Zika virus disease as a Public Health emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) in February,2016, the government has been taking adequate steps to prevent, detect and respond to the situation.

It has prepared a National Guidelines and Action Plan on the same and has shared with the States to prevent outbreak of Zika virus disease.

It has also formulated an Inter- Ministerial Task Force and Joint Monitoring Group, a Technical group under DGHS, tasked to monitor emerging and re-emerging diseases on a regular basis.

All the International Airports and Ports have displayed signage providing information for travelers on Zika virus disease and to report if they are returning from any of the affected countries and suffering from febrile illness.

Earlier, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed three cases of mosquito-borne Zika virus, including a pregnant woman, in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad.

The virus is transmitted to people through a bite of an infected mosquito called Aedes Aegypti, which also transmits dengue and chikungunya.

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. (ANI)