New Delhi : Thirteen Indians have been infected with the Zika virus in Singapore, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed on Thursday. This is a clear indication that the dangerous Zika virus has Indian offshoots, now.
Zika is mainly transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito, including Aedes aegypti that carries dengue. Most people infected with Zika will show no symptoms or will have only mild symptoms of fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis and, possibly, muscle pain and headaches that may last for several to a week.
The disease erupted in March 2015 in Brazil with reports of illness characterised by skin rashes. Later, health authorities reported neurological disorders in newborns associated with infection. By October, Brazil started reporting a sudden increase in microcephaly, a condition in which newborns had abnormally small heads.
So, the biggest danger from Zika is when pregnant women get infected as the virus can pass on to the foetus. The virus can also be sexually transmitted. The Indian patients in Singapore are showing mild symptoms of the fever and have been admitted in hospitals, the MEA said. Identities of the patients have not been revealed.
Earlier in the day, Chinese authorities confirmed that 21 Chinese nationals were stricken with the Zika virus in Singapore. China on Thursday also issued an alert against travelling to the island nation. Most of the infected persons in Singapore were engaged in the construction industry.
Official statistics may underestimate the size of the epidemic caused by Zika virus as some Zika cases may be misreported as dengue, say Brazilian researchers.