As many as 55 people have been tested positive for the Zika virus in Jaipur even as a team from the National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR) collected fresh mosquito samples from various parts of the Rajasthan capital.
Sources at the Union Health Ministry said of the total patients, 11 are pregnant women. They added that after Shastri Nagar area, three students residing at Rajput hostel in neighbouring Sindhi Camp have tested positive.
“So far, number of positive cases of Zika Virus in Jaipur district is 50 and as per the guidelines of the Centre, we are combing the entire area especially, Shastri Nagar. We've surveyed about 60,000 households and a vector surveillance is being done,” V Gupta, additional chief secretary medical and health, said.
The Zika virus has already been found in some mosquitoes taken as samples from Sindhi Camp while few mosquitoes collected from densely populated Shastri Nagar had already been found to be carriers of the virus leading to suspicion they are behind the spread of the infection.It was on September 22, the first case had surfaced when an 85-year-old woman with no travel history tested positive for the disease.
On Friday, the health department held a review meeting and issued an advisory for pregnant women staying outside Shastri Nagar to not visit the area.
The number of monitoring teams in Jaipur has been increased from 55 to 170 and a special isolation ward created at the Hira Bagh Training Centre to treat Zika virus-affected patients.
The Rajasthan government has been provided information, education and communication (IEC) material prepared to create awareness about the Zika virus and prevention strategies.
What is Zika virus?
# The virus is transmitted through the aedes aegypti mosquito. It causes fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain.
# It is harmful to pregnant women, as it can lead to microcephaly, a condition in which a baby's head is significantly smaller than expected, in newborn children.
# In India, the first outbreak was reported in Ahmedabad in January 2017 and the second in Tamil Nadu's Krishnagiri district in July that year.
# Both these outbreaks were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management, the ministry had said earlier.The disease continues to be under surveillance of the Union Health Ministry although it is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern under WHO notification since November 18, 2016.
(With agency inputs)