Zika threat: Maha puts 12 sites under surveillance

The Tamil Nadu Government on Monday confirmed about a 27-year-old in Krishnagiri district being positively tested for zika virus

Zika virus threat

Twelve sites in Maharashtra under Zika virus surveillance as a precautionary measure, said state health officials as Tamil Nadu confirmed its first case on Monday.

So far, the country has reported four Zika virus positive cases out of which three were from Gujarat.

“In Maharashtra, we haven’t found any positive zika virus cases. However, as a precautionary measure, we have twelve sentinel surveillance sites where maternity and district hospitals are being monitored for congenital brain abnormalities, including microcephaly (abnormal smallness of the head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development),” said Dr Satish Pawar, Directorate of Health Services (DHS).

He said the surveillance has been started six months back.  “We are following the national guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry. We are also focusing on reducing the number of breeding spots of Aedes aegypti mosquito- carrier of Zika virus in the state,” said Dr Pawar.

He said the corporations and local health bodies in the state have been asked to step up surveillance and concentrate on vector control. “Vector-borne diseases are more of an urban phenomenon,” said Dr Pawar.

He informed pregnant women with zika virus infection symptoms are also screened. A 27-year-old in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district was tested positive for zika virus. The patient had reported to a primary health care centre with complaints of redness in the eye, fever, skin rashes, joint pain and photophobia. Indian health officials however say it is a stray case and there is nothing to worry. Zika virus became global news in late 2015 after the outbreak in several countries including Brazil.

The virus

Zika virus is transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito. It was first identified in 1947 in rhesus monkeys in Uganda and was first identified in human beings in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania, according to WHO. Outbreaks of Zika fever have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

Symptoms

The symptoms are similar to dengue and chikungunya as the diseases spread through the same mosquito. Most common are mild fever, conjunctivitis (red eyes), headache, rashes and muscle or joint pain.

About one in five people fall ill when infected with the zika virus.

Treatment

  • Till now no vaccines or medication has not been found to treat the disease.
  • Once can the treat symptoms by…
  • Getting plenty of rest.
  • Drinking fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Taking acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain.
  • Avoiding aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Prevention

The best way to prevent the virus from spreading infection is to control mosquitoes biting people. Special attention should be given to children. Clean water stored in containers should be regularly replaced.