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New Zika virus cases detected in Rajasthan's Jaipur, count in state hits 55

Press Trust of India/New Delhi 13 Oct 18 | 04:05 PM

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More cases of Zika virus were detected in Jaipur on Saturday, taking the total number of infected people to 55, a Rajasthan health department official said.

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The figure was issued by the department after a review meeting chaired by the additional chief secretary (medical and health) Veenu Gupta.

The official said of the total patients, 38 are doing fine after treatment.

Union Health Ministry officials said fresh mosquito samples have been collected from various parts of Jaipur by a team from the National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR).

On Friday, the authorities had reported 50 cases of the virus till then.

The Zika virus was found in some mosquitoes taken as samples from Sindhi Camp and few mosquitoes collected from the 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.

Of the total patients, at least 11 are pregnant women, the ministry officials said. 

The first case had surfaced on September 22 when an 85-year-old woman with no travel history tested positive for the disease.

ALSO READ: Rajasthan: 276 teams deployed in Zika virus-affected wards

Fogging and other anti-larvae activities are being carried out in the Shastri Nagar area to prevent the spread of the virus.

At a review meeting held on Friday, measures taken to contain the situation were discussed. The department has also issued an advisory for pregnant women staying outside Shastri Nagar not to visit the area.

A control room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control to monitor the situation.

ALSO READ:  West Nile, Zika virus can lead to gut problems: Study  

The number of monitoring teams in Jaipur has been increased from 50 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.

The virus, transmitted through the aedes aegypti mosquito, 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.

ALSO READ: Here's how Zika virus strips immune cells of their identity

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 the 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.   

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