After Corona, the threat of Zika virus is increasing, the Health Ministry issued an advisory to the states

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States were urged to maintain continuous surveillance through screening of pregnant women for Zika virus infection and monitoring of foetal growth of pregnant mothers who test positive for Zika. A nodal officer will be identified to monitor and take action to keep the premises of health facilities/hospitals free of Aedes mosquitoes.

The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday issued an advisory to all states after Zika virus cases were reported in Maharashtra. The Health Ministry has asked the states to maintain continuous surveillance by screening pregnant women for infection and monitoring fetal development of pregnant mothers who test positive for Zika. It said that the states were urged to maintain continuous surveillance through screening pregnant women for Zika virus infection and monitoring fetal development of pregnant mothers who test positive for Zika. A nodal officer will be identified to monitor and take action to keep the premises of health facilities/hospitals free from Aedes mosquitoes.

According to the advisory, states will strengthen entomological surveillance in residential areas, workplaces, schools, construction sites, institutions and health facilities and intensify vector control activities. Earlier, National Institute of Virology Director Dr Naveen Kumar urged citizens not to panic over Zika cases in Pune. Dr Kumar said, “We have received 106 samples from across the country and so far six have been confirmed with Zika virus infection in Pune, while one each has been identified in Ahmednagar and Kolhapur.”

Dr Gajanan Sapkal, scientist-in-charge of the Diagnostic Virology Group at NIV, said we have the capability to test the viral genome and Zika virus antibodies. Two samples have been sequenced so far. The Zika virus currently in Pune is of the Asian lineage. Zika virus is a vector-borne flavivirus that is transmitted by the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes – mainly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. The disease is a mild, self-limited illness with fever, rash and joint pain. However, it has attracted worldwide attention with reports indicating an association with microcephaly and severe neurological involvement, Dr Sapkal has reported in a report in the Journal of Infection.

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