Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 9 (UNI): As 13 more people tested positive to Zika virus, the Kerala Health Department chalked out an action plan to contain the spread of the virus in the State, Health Minister Veena George said on Friday.
Out of the 19 samples sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, 13 people tested positive for the virus, taking total to 14, the Minister told newspersons after a meeting of District Medical Officers here.
All the affected people were identified as health workers of a private hospital in the city. A decision has been taken to improve the lab testing facilities in all private hospitals for the speedy identification of positive cases.
The Health Department has taken steps to strengthen the observation of ‘Dry Day’ against various communicable diseases including Dengue fever.
For the first time in Kerala, a Zika virus infection case has been confirmed in the State on Thursday. A 24-year-old pregnant woman from Parassala was diagnosed with the disease.
The condition of the woman, undergoing treatment in a private hospital here, is stable. Following the symptoms of fever, headache and red marks on skin, she sought treatment on June 28. She gave birth to a child on July 7.
Zika virus infection was confirmed by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune where her sample was tested.
Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day.
Symptoms are generally mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. Symptoms typically last for 2–7 days. Most people with Zika virus infection do not develop symptoms.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome.
Infection with Zika virus is also associated with other complications of pregnancy including preterm birth and miscarriage.
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 Zika virus disease have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. From the 1960s to 1980s, rare sporadic cases of human infections were found across Africa and Asia, typically accompanied by mild illness.
The first recorded outbreak of Zika virus disease was reported from the Island of Yap (Federated States of Micronesia) in 2007. This was followed by a large outbreak of Zika virus infection in French Polynesia in 2013 and other countries and territories in the Pacific.