Zika Virus: Union Health Ministry Issues Advisory to States

In 2024 (till 2nd July), Maharashtra has reported eight cases from Pune (6), Kolhapur (1) and Sangamner (1).
Image for representational purpose
Image for representational purpose

Pune: In view of some reported cases of Zika virus from Maharashtra, Dr Atul Goel, Director General of Health Services (DGHS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued an advisory to States highlighting the need for maintaining a state of constant vigil over the Zika virus situation in the country.

As Zika is associated with microcephaly and neurological consequences in the fetus of the affected pregnant lady, States have been advised to alert the clinicians for close monitoring.

States are urged to instruct the health facilities in the affected areas or those catering cases from affected areas to screen the pregnant women for Zika virus infection, monitor the growth of the fetus of expecting mothers who have tested positive for Zika and act as per Central Government Guidelines.

States were also instructed to advise health facilities/hospitals to identify a nodal officer to monitor and act to keep the premises Aedes mosquito free.

States have been emphasized on the importance of strengthening the entomological surveillance and intensifying the vector control activities in residential areas, workplaces, schools, construction sites, institutions and health facilities.

States are also urged to promote awareness through precautionary IEC messages in social media and other platforms to reduce panic among the community, as Zika is like any other viral infection with most cases being asymptomatic and mild.

Though, it is reported to be associated with microcephaly, no report of any Zika associated microcephaly has been reported in the country since 2016.

Zika is an Aedes mosquito borne viral disease like Dengue and Chikungunya. It is a non-fatal disease. However, Zika is associated with microcephaly (reduced head size) of babies born to affected pregnant women which makes it a major concern.

India reported first Zika case from Gujarat State in 2016. Since then, many other States namely Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Karnataka have reported cases subsequently.

In 2024 (till 2nd July), Maharashtra has reported eight cases from Pune (6), Kolhapur (1) and Sangamner (1).

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