Zika virus: Kerala health minister Veena George declares statewide alert after 24-year-old pregnant woman gets infected

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. There are 13 other suspectedcases of the virus from Thiruvananthapuram, the minister told PTI, however the government is waiting for a confirmation from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) at Pune.

Of the 19 samples sent from Thiruvananthapuram, 13 health workers, including doctors, are suspected to be positive for Zika, the minister added.

The Health Department and the district authorities are seized of the issue and have taken measures by collecting samples of the Aedes species mosquitoes, which transmits it to people through its bite. All the districts have been alerted about this and measures have started," George added.

The woman diagnosed with Zika virus, hailing from Parassalain in Thiruvananthapuram district, who is undergoing treatment at a private hospital here, delivered her baby on July7. She had been admitted to the hospital on June 28 with fever, headache and red marks on her body.

The tests conducted at the hospital confirmed that she was positive following which her samples were sent to NIV, Pune. However, the condition of the woman was satisfactory.

Though she does not have any travel history outside the state, her house is on the Tamil Nadu border. A week ago,her mother had also shown similar symptoms, a government release added.

The symptoms of Zika are similar to dengue including fever, skin rashes and joint pain.

The National Institute of Virology (NIV) had successfully isolated the Zika virus for the very first time in November of 2018. In India, the first local outbreak of Zika virus was reported in Ahmedabad in January 2017 and the second in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district in July, 2017.

(With agency inputs)

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