Five more people have tested positive for the Zika virus in Kerala, taking the total number of those infected to 28, said Kerala Health Minister Veena George. Of the five infected, two people are from Anayara and one each from Kunnukuzhi, Pattom and East Fort.
George said only eight were active cases of which three were pregnant women. She added that the first patient and next 13 health workers were from a private hospital in Anayara.
A cluster of Zika virus has been identified within a three-kilometer radius of Anayara and steps are being taken for extermination of mosquitoes in the area to prevent its spread to other places, George said on Wednesday. The minister said counselling was also being carried out to create awareness among the people with regard to exercising caution against the Zika virus and not to panic.
George said the state should be vigilant against the Zika virus and preventive operations have been intensified in other parts of Thiruvananthapuram. Besides fogging, emphasis will be placed on the destruction of the source of mosquitoes, she said and added that breeding of mosquitoes should not be allowed in the vicinity of houses and institutions.
“Do not let even a drop of water stagnate. Special care should be taken to prevent mosquitoes from breeding inside the house," the minister said and added that besides Zika, steps should be taken to prevent spread of dengue, another vector- borne disease.
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus transmitted through Aedes mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are usually seen early in the morning or late in the evening and are also responsible for the transmission of chikungunya, dengue, and yellow fever. Kerala reported its first case of the Zika virus on July 8, when a pregnant woman tested positive. The next day, a state-wide alert was issued in all 14 districts following the detection of Zika virus infections. A six-member central team of experts had also been dispatched to the state to monitor the situation as well as to support the state government in the management of cases.