After Jaipur in Rajasthan recorded 29 confirmed cases of Zika virus till Monday, the government has put neighbouring states on high alert.
Given that the pink city is part of India’s golden triangle tourist circuit, connecting the national capital and Agra, authorities said strict surveillance was required in the region.
“A few cases of Zika virus have been reported in Jaipur. We have alerted neighbouring states, including Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, to keep a strict vigil on Zika virus. Given that the festive season is round the corner, many people travel to popular tourist destinations for year-end holidays. Since there is seamless travel between these states, the health authorities will have to be careful,” said Sunil Gupta, additional director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The outbreak in Jaipur was detected through the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) surveillance system. The ministry of health and family welfare deputed a seven-member high-level central team to Jaipur immediately following the detection of the first case to assist the state government in taking containment measures.
A control room has been set up at the NCDC to undertake regular monitoring of the situation. “All suspect cases in the defined area and mosquito samples from this area are being tested. Additional testing kits are provided to the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratories. All pregnant mothers in the area are being monitored through the National Health Mission (NHM). Extensive surveillance and vector control measures are being taken up in the areas as per protocol by the state government,” an official statement from Union health ministry said.
Zika is a mosquito-borne disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. The disease is currently being reported by 86 countries worldwide. Symptoms of Zika virus disease are similar to other viral infections such as dengue, which include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and headache. In India, the first outbreak was reported in Ahmedabad in January-February 2017. The second outbreak was reported after five months in the Krishnagiri district in Tamil Nadu. Both were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management.
The disease continues to be on surveillance radars of the Union health ministry although it is no longer a public health emergency of international concern, according to World Health Organization notification of 18 November, 2016.