Alert on Zika virus: Health dept asks hospitals, docs to check patients’ travel history

Indore: In view of large number of cases surfacing in Jaipur and other districts of Rajasthan, the district health department has issued an alert to all health institutions to keep vigil on the situation.  The department has pressed an alarm for the officials of Indore especially as a large number of people travelled to Jaipur from Indore.

Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr Ashok Dagaria said, “We have already alerted all the health institutions to keep vigil on patients as outbreak of Zika virus is a cause of concern. Symptoms of the virus are similar to dengue and it is spread by the same mosquito.”

Department has also circulated the guidelines issued by the ministry of health and family welfare to all the hospitals and asked them to report the patients of dengue, malaria, chikungunia and others as well. “We have asked the health institutions to report us even the number of patients suffering from cough and cold to keep a tab on the situation,” Dr Dagaria said.

Health department has also appealed to the doctors and people to go through the travel history of patient suffering from fever or any vector borne disease to avoid the spread of the disease in Indore. The virus had claimed a large number of lives in African countries and the outbreak in neighboring state is a cause of concern.

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What is Zika virus?
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys through a network that monitored yellow fever. It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. The first large outbreak of disease caused by Zika infection was reported from the Island of Yap (Federated States of Micronesia) in 2007. In July 2015 Brazil reported an association between Zika virus infection and Guillain-Barré syndrome. In October 2015 Brazil reported an association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly.

Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti in tropical regions. Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, peaking during early morning and late afternoon/evening. This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Sexual transmission of Zika virus is also possible. Other modes of transmission such as blood transfusion are being investigated.

Infection with Zika virus may be suspected based on symptoms and recent history of travel (e.g. residence in or travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission). A diagnosis of Zika virus infection can only be confirmed through laboratory tests on blood or other body fluids, such as urine, saliva or semen.

Zika virus disease is usually mild and requires no specific treatment. People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice. There is currently no vaccine available.

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