Post Zika alert for Asia, India says it’s ready : The Tribune India

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Post Zika alert for Asia, India says it’s ready

NEW DELHI:As the WHO cautioned Asia against a highly likely spread of the Zika virus, the government today admitted the country was at risk of the infection but said no case had been reported yet.



Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 11

As the WHO cautioned Asia against a highly likely spread of the Zika virus, the government today admitted the country was at risk of the infection but said no case had been reported yet.

Director General Health Services Jagdish Prasad, nodal officer for outbreak prevention and control, said India was prepared to handle Zika. Surveillance and testing systems were in place, he added.

With Singapore reporting hundreds of Zika cases and Thailand confirming two instances of microcephaly related to Zika virus, India has decided to intensify its microcephaly surveillance.

Prasad said, “Since the outbreak of Zika in Brazil this year, we have been monitoring microcephaly linked to the virus. We will intensify the surveillance now as the infection has moved closer home. The surveillance of microcephaly, a condition where the baby’s head is abnormally large due to Zika infection, is being conducted in the government system through Health Ministry’s reproductive and child health chain.”

Accredited social health workers have been trained in microcephaly surveillance and instructed to report cases. 

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said advisories had been sent to all airports to screen any potential patient for Zika infection. “Anyone travelling to India from Zika endemic or Zika outbreak country will be counselled to report to the doctor if they see any symptoms in two weeks of returning from the country reporting Zika. Surveillance teams are in place at all airports and isolation facilities made available to tackle cases of emergency,” Prasad said.

The government is not ruling out Zika outbreak possibility given a high burden of dengue, which intensifies with the monsoon.

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