India on `zika' alert as 22 test positive in Jaipur
09 October 2018
India has come under the threat of the deadly zika virus with at least 22 people in Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, a popular tourist destination, testing positive, the health ministry said.
The authorities at the centre have sent experts to try to contain an outbreak of the zika virus, which has no vaccine at present.
Reports a pregnant woman is under close watch as the virus can cause severe birth defects in unborn children.
Pregnant women in the area are being monitored by the National Health Mission, a body set up by the government to improve healthcare across the country.
“The situation continues to be monitored regularly,” the ministry said in a statement late on Monday.
The Toronto-based International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers said it was advising pregnant travellers to postpone trips to the area, part of India’s tourist “golden triangle” of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra.
First discovered in 1947, the zika virus reached epidemic proportions in Brazil in 2015, when thousands of babies were born with microcephaly, a brain defect affecting speech and motor function.
It is the third such outbreak in India, with the first in Ahmedabad in January 2017 and the second in Tamil Nadu in July 2017. Both outbreaks were “successfully contained”, the government said.
The latest cases - in the middle of the country’s festival season where many Indians travel, increases the risk of transmission.
There has been a spike in mosquito-borne diseases that kill thousands across India each year, according to the World Health Organisation.
The capital Delhi has reported a rise in cases of dengue fever, with 169 reported in the first week of October and taking the total for the year to 650, according to NDTV, citing figures from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation that tracks mosquito-borne diseases.