Maharashtra: First case of Zika virus

The small village of Belsar in Purandar tehsil hosts a population of just about 3,500 people. In the beginning of the month of July, a few cases of fever were reported here. From among these, samples of five patients were sent to National Institute of Virology, Pune on July 16. From these, three people were found infected with chikungunya.

So, between July 27 and 29, a team of experts from NIV, headed by Dr Yogesh Gurav, head of the dengue and chikungunya department, visited Belsar. The team collected 41 suspected samples from the village and surrounding areas. And, as per NIVs report on 30 July, out of these samples, 25 people were diagnosed with chikungunya, three with dengue and samples of a 50-year-old woman were diagnosed with Zika virus — the first such case in the state.

Simultaneously, the woman has also been with chikungunya. The team of state surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awte, assistant director Dr Kamlapurkar, Dr Mahendra Jagtap, and other experts from various departments visited Belsar on Saturday. “The woman from Belsar has recovered completely. She has no symptoms. Also, none of her family members share the symptoms,” informed Dr Awte, adding, “The team conducted disease surveillance of the village. An emergency meeting was held between the village sarpanch, gram panchayat members, staff at the Primary Health Centre (PHC) of Belsar and medical officers of Purandar tehsil, during which preventive measures and awareness were discussed. Administrative officials, gram panchayat members, medical officers, etc. from Belsar and adjoining areas were issued orders to conduct various prevention and awareness measures.”

Zilla Parishad chief executive officer Ayush Prasad said, “The Pune district administration requests people not to panic with regards to Zika virus. It’s due to the proactive work of field teams that the case was detected. We are working very hard to contain the spread and make the best healthcare available to our residents.”

According to the World Health Organisation, Zika virus is primarily transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti, in tropical and subtropical regions. This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Zika virus is also transmitted from mother to foetus during pregnancy, through sexual contact, transfusion of blood and blood products, and organ transplantation.

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