With cases of Zika virus reported in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu last year, the Maharashtra state health department has formed a surveillance team to keep a check on all tourists spots where people from different states visit.
Dr Mahendra Jagtap, an entomologist from Maharashtra, said, “So far, no case is reported in the state. Then again, we are taking all the precautionary measures. In the last two months, we have sent more than 300 samples for testing to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. So far, no case is positive yet. However, as a precautionary measure, we have formed a team to keep a check on tourists spots, as other states have reported many Zika virus cases.”
Zika virus is primarily transmitted through a bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti, in tropical and subtropical regions. It is also transmitted from a mother to foetus during pregnancy, through sexual contact, transfusion of blood and blood products, and organ transplantation.
Dr Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer of the state health department, said, “There is no treatment available for Zika virus infection or its associated diseases. As the carrier is a mosquito, we all must take preventive measure that it does not bite us. We are regularly sending samples for testing, but no case, so far, is positive.”
Symptoms are generally mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or a headache. Symptoms typically last for 2 to 7 days. Most people with Zika virus infection do not develop symptoms.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome. Infection with Zika virus is also associated with other complications of pregnancy, including preterm birth, and miscarriage.