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Kerala declares Zika outbreak under control

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on August 15, 2021

Big relief amidst Covid-19 spread

The Kerala government has declared that the Zika virus outbreak has been brought under control with no cases of new infections being reported from any part of the state over the past one week or more. This comes as a big relief even as the state is fighting a surge in Covid-19 spread.

The Thiruvananthapuram district was the epicentre of the Zika virus outbreak, the first on record in the state. The first case was confirmed in a 24-year-old pregnant woman on the outskirts of the capital on July 8. At least 13 health workers in a private hospital in the city tested positive subsequently.

Thiruvananthapuram, the epicentre

Of the total 66 cases of infection reported in the state during the outbreak, at least 62 were from the capital district, two from Ernakulam and one each from Kottayam and Kollam districts. None of the positive cases is under treatment now and none testing positive developed a serious disease either.

The State health administration could confine the outbreak to mostly one district, Health Minister Veena George said. The intensive vector control drive launched with the help of the Local Self-government and Revenue Departments had helped the control of dengue and chikungunya spread, too.

More than nine lakh screened

Alongside intensive vector control measures, diagnostic facilities were arranged in all three government medical colleges, the Public Health Lab and National Institute of Virology, Alappuzha. Intermittent rains and constant presence of the Aedes vector species call for continued vigil, the Health Department said.

As part of the widespread surveillance, 9,18,753 people were screened, the department said. Health workers had called on 1,569 persons reporting fever, body ache and rashes. Samples of 632 who were suspected to have Zika infection were tested out of whom 66 had tested positive.

Since Zika virus affects pregnant women adversely and poses the risk of congenital microcephaly in babies, all pregnant women with fever were screened. Of the 4,252 screened, six had tested positive. Only one newborn had to be kept under surveillance but without any congenital issues.

Published on August 15, 2021

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