Letters

Getting ready for Zika

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Given the spate in number of cases attributed to the spread of the Zika virus and WHO’s designation of the virus as a public health emergency of international concern, India needs to gear itself up to tackle any eventuality (“ >After WHO alert, India readies to take on Zika”, Feb.3). Proper medical screening of all travellers should be put in place.

Aman Kumar Pandey,

Kolkata

The Zika virus seems to have reached the Maldives. According to a recent Eurosurveillance report, a person from Finland who returned after a few months of work-related stay in Maldives in June 2015 was detected with the Zika virus RNA. The sequence was nearly identical with Asian lineage strains previously detected in Thailand (2013), Easter Island (2014) and now Brazil (2015). The virus is likely to reach India, but diagnostic facilities are grossly inadequate for its detection. Not only are the symptoms similar to dengue, but serology also overlaps, with misleading results of dengue antibodies in Zika-infected persons. Nucleic acid amplification methods are necessary for unequivocal diagnosis. India must develop a functional public health disease surveillance system, supported with readily accessible laboratory diagnostic services, as we face many viral threats, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, novel influenza viruses, yellow fever and other unknowns.

T. Jacob John,

Vellore

In this interconnected world where an outbreak of a disease is just a flight away, India has reason to fear Zika. The fact that it can be transmitted by the species of mosquito which can also spread dengue and chikungunya makes it all the more frightening. One hopes that the Indian health authorities are getting ready to tackle the newest health threat.

Meghana A.,

NSW, Australia

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 6:33:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/getting-ready-for-zika/article8189414.ece

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