Karnataka steps up surveillance after detection of Zika virus in mosquito pool in Chickballapur

Samples of three persons, who were detected during fever surveillance, have been sent for confirmation to NIV Pune and reports are awaited

Updated - November 04, 2023 10:41 am IST

Published - November 02, 2023 07:15 pm IST - Bengaluru

Zika virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes, the same vector that causes dengue and chikungunya.

Zika virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes, the same vector that causes dengue and chikungunya. | Photo Credit: file photo

Karnataka has stepped up surveillance after a mosquito pool in Chickballapur was found to be positive for Zika virus, a vector-borne flavivirus transmitted by the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes, mainly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

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Mosquito samples collected from Thalakayalbetta village in the jurisdiction of Dibburahalli Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Chickballapur during routine surveillance were found to be carrying the Zika virus, according to the molecular virology laboratory report from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) State unit in Bengaluru. The samples tested positive on October 18, and since then, intensive preventive measures have been taken up to check the spread of the disease.

State Health Commissioner Randeep D. told The Hindu that while the detection in the mosquito pool indicated the circulation of Zika virus in the district, there is no need to panic as no human infection has been reported as yet. “Samples of three persons, who were detected during fever surveillance, have been sent for confirmation to NIV Pune, and reports are awaited,” he said.

The three include a 30-year-old male from Dibburhalli, a 38-year-old female from Thalakayalbetta, and a 50-year-old female from Bachhanahalli in the district. “The last patient was admitted to the Chikkaballapura district hospital and is being discharged on Thursday. The remaining two patients are doing fine,” he said.

Symptoms

“The local health officials under the supervision of district administration have been asked to send serum samples of fever cases who report symptoms of red eyes, headache, rashes, muscle pain and joint pain lasting for two to seven days to NIV’s state unit for testing. Serum samples of family members of any positive case should also be tested,” the commissioner said.

As Zika virus disease is said to cause microcephaly and other congenital anomalies among newborns, the serum and urine samples of all pregnant women in areas where aedes mosquito pools / human serum are positive for Zika virus should be collected and sent to NIV for testing, he said.

“Details of deliveries conducted in the last three months at both public and private healthcare facilities in the district are also being collected to check for congenital anomalies, if any.  Besides, private practitioners in the district are also being sensitised about the disease,” he said.

Advisory

According to an advisory issued by the Health Department, health officials have been directed to intensify Aedes larval survey, source reduction activity, and fever surveillance in both urban and rural areas as Zika virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes, the same vector that causes dengue and chikungunya.

Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, who called upon people not to panic, said currently there are no human cases of Zika virus disease in the State. “Anyone who develops fever or any symptoms of Zika should visit the nearest healthcare facility for treatment. Suspected and confirmed cases should remain isolated and take sufficient rest, consume a lot of liquids and follow precautions,” he said.

“An area of 5 km diameter should be notified as the ‘Containment Zone’ whenever a human positive or mosquito pool is tested positive for Zika virus. Besides, house-to-house visits for the Aedes larval survey and fever survey should be conducted in the containment area daily by health staff and ASHAs. Additional staff can be deployed from neighbouring PHCs, if necessary,” the advisory stated.

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