Kerala comes with additional concern other than the COVID-19 pandemic as the state reported 14 cases of Zika virus. State Joint Health Secretary Lav Agarwal said that the union health ministry is closely monitoring the situation and has sent a six-member team to support the state government.
At a press briefing of the health ministry on Friday, Lav Agarwal said, “Some Zika cases have been reported from Kerala. To monitor the situation and to support the state government, a six-member team comprising public health experts, vector-borne disease experts, and clinicians from AIIMS has already been issued instructions to reach there and support the state government in terms of management of Zika there.”
The National Institute of Virology has detected 14 cases of Zika virus, including a 24-year-old pregnant woman who was the first to have been diagnosed on Thursday.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George said, “The Health Department and the district authorities are seized of the issue and have taken measures by collecting samples of the Aedes species mosquitoes, which transmit it to people through its bite. All the districts have been alerted about this and measures have started.”
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Outbreaks of the Zika virus have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific. From the 1960s to the 1980s, rare sporadic cases of human infections were found across Africa and Asia.
A major outbreak in Brazil in 2015 revealed that it can lead to severe birth defects when pregnant women are infected.