Zika threat now a major concern
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.