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Having a Baby? Don’t Visit Rajasthan: US Agency Issues Health Alert on Zika

Image for representation. (AFP Relaxnews)

Image for representation. (AFP Relaxnews)

The virus, which has hit about 153 people in Rajasthan between October and November, has the authorities worried. The Union Health Ministry has directed the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to monitor the cases on a daily basis, while urging the people not to panic.

New Delhi: The reported outbreak of Zika in India has made US health monitor, The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, issue a level 2 health alert to pregnant women, advising them not to visit places in India, particularly Rajasthan, where people have tested positive for the mosquito-borne disease.

Warning of serious birth defects, the US government agency said a pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her foetus. “There is an unusual increase in the number of Zika cases in Rajasthan and surrounding states. Pregnant women should not travel to areas with risk of Zika," says the alert by CDC.

The virus, which has hit about 153 people in Rajasthan between October and November, has the authorities worried. The Union Health Ministry has directed the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to monitor the cases on a daily basis, while urging the people not to panic.

In Rajasthan, the first case had surfaced on September 22 when an 85-year-old woman with no travel history tested positive for the disease. Fogging and other anti-larvae activities are being carried out in the Shastri Nagar area to prevent the spread of the virus. A control room was activated at the National Centre for Disease Control to monitor the situation. Since then, the number of monitoring teams in Jaipur increased from 50 to 170 and a special isolation ward was created at the Hira Bagh Training Centre to treat Zika virus-affected patients.

The Rajasthan government has been provided information, education and communication (IEC) material prepared to create awareness about the Zika virus and prevention strategies. The virus, transmitted through the aedes aegypti mosquito, causes fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain. It is harmful to pregnant women, as it can lead to microcephaly, a condition in which a baby's head is significantly smaller than expected, in newborn children.

In India, the first outbreak was reported in Ahmedabad in January 2017 and the second in Tamil Nadu's Krishnagiri district in July that year. Both these outbreaks were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management, the ministry had said earlier.


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