Zika threat now a ma­jor con­cern

Deccan Chronicle - - CITY - KANIZA GARARI

This mon­soon, doc­tors say that they will not only have to test the pa­tient for dengue, chikun­gunya but also Zika as the three cases in Gu­jarat con­firm that the virus is cir­cu­lat­ing in the In­dian en­vi­ron­ment.

In­dia was in World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion Cat­e­gory 4 which meant that the virus could be there but no no­ti­fied cases were doc­u­mented. Now it is in WHO Cat­e­gory 2 with three cases be­ing doc­u­mented in Gu­jarat.

The three cases con­firm that the virus is around and it re­quires con­trol­ling day time mosquitoes but also ef­fec­tive and easy di­ag­no­sis so that the spread is cur­tailed.

Zika is caused by day time Aedes mos­quito A ae­gypti and A al­bopic­tus which breed in clean and clear wa­ter. For this rea­son, epi­demi­ol­ogy wing has to be­gin aware­ness and en­sure that peo­ple do not al­low clean wa­ter to stag­nate in pots, trays, drink­ing wa­ter drums, over­head tanks or in con­tain­ers for the birds.

While mosquitoes can fly only 150 me­ters they are trans­ported from one place to an­other ei­ther by aero­plane, buses and trucks. Hence con­trol­ling them is now a very wide con­cern for epi­demi­ol­o­gists. To add to this is the di­ag­no­sis as the dis­ease mim­ics the ex­ist­ing ones. Se­nior pae­di­a­tri­cian Dr Ramesh Dasari said, “The symp­toms of Zika virus are sim­i­lar to dengue, chikun­gunya and lep­tospiro­sis. They in­clude fever, joint pains, rash and red­ness in the eyes. Hence the first line of treat­ment is to test for dengue. If that is neg­a­tive then Zika tests will have to be car­ried out.”

Presently the tests are be­ing car­ried out at the National In­sti­tute of Virol­ogy, Pune.

The govern­ment needs to ex­tend it to In­sti­tute of Pre­ven­tive Health stated sources in health depart­ment.

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