WHO report confirms India's first Zika virus case in Ahmedabad

A model of a mosquito exhibited at the Health Ministry in the Peruvian capital Lima as part of a campaign to raise awareness on the deadly Zika virus that is stalking much of South America. The Health Ministry is working overtime to prevent the spread of the Zika virus and other
mosquito-borne diseases. REUTERS

A model of a mosquito exhibited at the Health Ministry in the Peruvian capital Lima as part of a campaign to raise awareness on the deadly Zika virus that is stalking much of South America. The Health Ministry is working overtime to prevent the spread of the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. REUTERS (file photo)

Three cases were tested between November-February

Ahmedabad, May 27







The World Health Organisation (WHO), based on a report by Government of India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), confirmed first three cases of the dreaded Zika virus from Ahmedabad city in India. The International body also confirmed the evidence on the circulation of the virus in India.



On May 15, the MoHFW had reported three laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus disease in Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad city in Gujarat.



However, senior officials at the Health department in Gujarat Government clarified that the three cases were old and do not require emergency measures to be called for.



The routine laboratory surveillance detected a laboratory-confirmed case of Zika virus disease through RT-PCR test at B.J. Medical College, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. These confirmed cases, tested during November to February, included two women including one pregnant lady and a 64-year male.



"The etiology of this case has been further confirmed through a positive RT-PCR test and sequencing at the national reference laboratory, National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune on 4 January 2017. Two additional cases have then been identified through the Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) and the Antenatal clinic (ANC) surveillance," WHO said in its latest disease outbreak news dated May 26.



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



Gujarat junior health minister, Shankar Chaudhary, and Health Commissioner J P Gupta, could not be reached for comments immediately.



No alert has been sounded at the Ahmedabad International Airport so far, and no virus screening is being conducted for Zika virus.

"These findings suggest low level transmission of Zika virus and new cases may occur in the future. Efforts to strengthen surveillance should be maintained in order to better characterize the intensity of the viral circulation and geographical spread, and monitor Zika virus related complications," WHO statement said.



Zika virus is known to be circulating in South East Asia Region and these findings do not change the global risk assessment. "WHO encourages Member states to report similar findings to better understand the global epidemiology of Zika virus," it said.



The risk of further spread of Zika virus to areas where the competent vectors, the Aedes mosquitoes, are present is significant given the wide geographical distribution of these mosquitoes in various regions of the world.



Prevention and control relies on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people.



WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restriction to India based on the current information available.

Published on May 27, 2017
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