Kerala confirms 14 cases of Zika, state formulates action plan to tackle virus spread

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Kerala Health Minister Veena George addressing a press conference (Photo/ANI)
Kerala Health Minister Veena George addressing a press conference (Photo/ANI)

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], July 9 (ANI): Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Friday said that the state's health department has formulated an action plan for the prevention of the spread of Zika virus.

There is a high alert in all the districts of the state after 14 people, including a pregnant woman, were confirmed infected with the mosquito-borne virus

Addressing a press conference, the state health minister said that out of 19 samples sent from Thiruvananthapuram district to National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, 13 were found to be positive for Zika.

"All 13 are health workers working in the private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. They lived near a hospital in the city. Immediate action will be taken after examining areas of the city where they lived and their travel history. In addition, a 24-year-old woman was diagnosed with the disease during a hospital examination the previous day. With this, the disease is confirmed in 14 people," George said.

Regarding the action plan taken she said,"Strong preventive measures will be taken focusing on areas and hospitals where the disease is likely to be reported. Mosquito control is the most important. Coordinated action will be taken by various departments."

The Health Minister further said that all district medical officers have been asked to be vigilant adding there was no cause for panic.

"All hospitals must be vigilant. Zika virus detection lab facility will be enhanced. Cases outside medical colleges will also be screened in the public health lab. Training and awareness will be organized. Private hospitals will also be involved in preventive measures. Awareness drive will also be carried out," she said.

She urged people with symptoms like fever, headache, bodyaches, or red spots, to immediately take treatment and inform health authorities.

Zika virus is also known to trigger the rare autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome, neuropathy and myelitis, especially in adults and children.

Caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day, symptoms of this disease are mild fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or a headache.

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.

Previously in the year 2016-17 there was a Zika outbreak in Gujarat. (ANI)

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