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Rajasthan now has 80 Zika virus cases

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 16, 2018 Published on October 16, 2018

Union Health Minister JP Nadda   -  PTI

No sign of abating; Centre taking preventive steps

The number of people affected by Zika virus in Rajasthan has spiked to 80, the largest ever outbreak of the disease in India. Union Health Minister JP Nadda held a high-level meeting to review the activities for prevention and control of Zika virus on Tuesday.

According to the Health Ministry, 330 teams have been deployed in Shastri Nagar in Jaipur and 4,34,515 persons were under surveillance as of today. As many as 86,903 houses have been surveyed and 2,04,875 breeding sites were checked for larvae breeding, of which 74,483 were found to have larvae.

Remedial measures

“The health workers undertook on-spot source reduction and containers were treated with Temiphose during the survey. The health workers have also carried out focal spray and fogging in affected areas which were recommended by team supervisors,” a statement released by the Ministry said.

The outbreak surfaced in Rajasthan a month ago, and since then the cases have only increased.

Nadda urged people not to panic and cooperate with the health officials in controlling the breeding of the vectors. He further said there was no shortage of medicines and testing kits and required support would be provided to the State.

The virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue and chikungunya. The cell structure of Zika virus is similar to dengue and chikungunya, making it hard to differentiate. In pregnant women, Zika is related to birth of babies with a large head, a condition known as microcephaly. It remains to be seen how the virus unfolds in India, and whether the babies of the infected women are born healthy or not.

Nadda emphasised the need for continuous monitoring. He said the Union Health Ministry is in regular contact with the State officials. He also communicated with the Chief Minister of Rajasthan.

Nadda stressed the need for undertaking exhaustive control measures, including intensive fogging, for next month in order to ensure vector control in the area.

He also stressed on strengthening surveillance to facilitate the early identification of cases. He further directed mounting aggressive communication campaigns in the State.

He stated that awareness is the key in controlling vector-borne diseases and no stone should be left unturned to reach out to the people.

Noting that community participation is a crucial area in prevention, he urged all the stakeholders to start rigorous awareness campaigns regarding the preventive steps to be taken at the community level.

Preeti Sudan, Secretary (Health), Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General Indian Council of Medical Research, S Venkatesh, Director-General of Health Services (DGHS), Additional Secretaries Sanjeeva Kumar and Manoj Jhalani and senior officers of the Union Health Ministry, National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Emergency Medical Response division were present at the meeting.

Published on October 16, 2018
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