Three cases of Zika virus reported in Ahmedabad in January

Its outbreak has been contained, no more cases since that month, says Health Ministry.

Updated - December 04, 2021 10:57 pm IST

Published - May 27, 2017 06:12 pm IST - New Delhi

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito

The Union Health Ministry has confirmed that three cases of Zika were reported from Ahmedabad in January. The information was made public five months after the cases were reported, as the World Health Organization (WHO) has now published a ‘member state report ’ on its website.

Three laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus were reported from Bapunagar area in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, the Ministry said. The Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also transmits dengue and chikungunya.

The Health Ministry said the outbreak has been contained. “We have been keeping a close watch and no other case has been reported since January. We are conducting tests routinely and the situation is under control,” said Arun Panda, Additional Secretary in the Ministry.

 

Public health experts said they were shocked that the government kept the disease outbreak under wraps for five months. “This is unprecedented, to keep disease outbreaks from the public domain. In all cases of disease outbreaks like dengue and so on, the Ministry sends out a weekly or even daily report of the disease and routinely briefs the press,” said a senior official in WHO, who declined to be quoted.

While all three cases were reported and confirmed in January, on March 17, Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel, had confirmed in a written response to a question in Parliament only one of the three Gujarat cases. She was responding to R.Vanaroja, MP.

Disease trail

The WHO report said routine surveillance detected a laboratory-confirmed case of Zika at B.J. Medical College. The case was confirmed by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune on January 4 this year. Two additional cases were identified through surveillance. One patient was a 34-year-old pregnant woman who delivered a healthy child on November 9, 2016. “During her hospital stay, she developed a low grade fever after delivery... A sample from the patient was referred to the Viral Research & Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) at the BJMC for dengue testing and thereafter found to be positive for Zika virus. She was discharged after one week (on November 16, 2016),” the WHO report states.

Since then, an Inter-Ministerial Task Force has been set up under the Chairmanship of Health Secretary C.K. Mishra and a Joint Monitoring Group is reviewing the global situation on Zika.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has tested 34,233 human samples and 12 647 mosquito samples for the presence of the virus. Among those, close to 500 mosquitos samples were collected from the Bapunagar area and were found negative for the virus.

The Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) is now monitoring microcephaly from 55 sentinel sites. As of now, no increase in number of cases or clustering of microcephaly has been reported from these centers.

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