Centre rushes 6-member team to Zika virus hit Kerala

Joint secretary of the Union health ministry Lav Agarwal on Friday said that a six member team has been sent to Kerala to monitor the Zika virus situation.

The team comprises health experts and vector-borne disease experts. The situation is under constant monitoring of the central government, Agarwal said.

In the first case of Zika virus in Kerala, a 24-year-old pregnant woman has been diagnosed with the mosquito transmitted disease, State Health Minister Veena George informed on Thursday.

On Friday, cases of Zika in Kerala went up to 14, following with the state government has sounded an alert.

All samples tested positive for the Zika virus were collected from the Thiruvananthapuram district and sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.

"The disease was reported in a 24-year-old pregnant woman from Parassala who was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram. On June 28, the woman was admitted to the hospital with fever, headache, and red spots. Her samples showed that she contracted Zika virus, for confirming the samples have been sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune," said Veena George.

Zika virus spreads mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, which bites during the day. Aedes mosquitoes are the same that transmit dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations.

The symptoms of Zika virus include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache.

Zika virus has often been linked to birth defects and development of Guillain-Barre syndrome, where one's immune system attacks the nerves. Some people infected by it might not show any signs or symptoms. However, in pregnant women the infection can seriously harm the developing foetus and lead to congenital anomalies.


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