Zika not spread by contact, not cause of concern for public right now: Health expert

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Dr Mathew Varghese, Public health expert and former director of St Stephens Hospital in conversation with ANI. (Photo/ANI)
Dr Mathew Varghese, Public health expert and former director of St Stephens Hospital in conversation with ANI. (Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], July 10 (ANI): The Zika virus, of which 14 cases have been reported in Kerala, is not spread by aerosols or contact and is not a major cause for concern at this time, said Dr Mathew Varghese, Public health expert and former director of St Stephens Hospital in Delhi.

While speaking to ANI, Dr Varghese, however, warned that epidemiologists and the state health department should be concerned about the resurfacing of the virus.

"Zika virus is not spread by contact or aerosols. It is spread by mosquitos. That is a different epidemiology. I would not worry about it at this point in time. Epidemiologists and the Kerala Public Health dept has to be concerned that from somwhere Zika has come, and find a way to control the virus and mosquitoes. We should not create a scare among the people," he said.

Kerala has reported 14 cases of the Zika virus, the state health department informed on Friday, adding that an action plan has been formulated for its prevention. A high alert has been flagged in all districts, especially for pregnant woman, were confirmed infected with the mosquito-borne virus

While speaking about the rapid pace of virus mutations in the country, the public health expert said that it is normal for viruses to mutate and people have to prepared to have these in the environment.

"It is normal for viruses to mutate. They will keep mutating. This is the norm, it's not unusual. We have to be prepared for various types of variants in the environment and have to be careful," Dr Varghese said, adding that length and extent of carefulness are important.

Asked about the massive crowds witnessed at hill stations over the last few days amid the pandemic, Varghese said that people should be allowed to go out to open tourist spaces but they should follow protocol very strictly, including face masks and frequent sanitisation.

"Tourist spots are getting crowded because people are getting more and more fed up with the closed lockdown life, and I think we need to grant it to them. Allow them to have open spaces but they must follow precautions very strictly, especially in indoor spaces," he said. (ANI)

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