Even though no new cases of Zika virus have been detected in Belsar and adjoining villages in Purandar tehsil of Pune district, the state health department, which is conducting a doorstep survey, has found several cases of chikungunya and dengue. The patients are under medical observation. Maharashtra had reported its first case of Zika virus from Belsar last week.
The state health department has stepped up vigil in Belsar and nine villages around it and ordered strict surveillance. It has so far sent 159 samples to laboratories for testing; five were detected with dengue, 63 with chikungunya, 15 with dengue and chikungunya together, and one with Zika virus and chikungunya. “Of these samples, 41 tested negative; reports for 27 samples are expected,” said a senior health department official.
The official told Free Press Journal that a three-member Central team reached Belsar on Wednesday and held interaction with the officials to understand the status. The team will start field visits from Thursday, he said. The team comprises a public health expert from the office of Regional Director, Pune; a gynaecologist from Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi; and an entomologist from the National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR), ICMR, New Delhi, the health ministry said in a statement.
Meanwhile, state health minister Rajesh Tope has directed the health department to create awareness about the virus and other ailments through the IEC department. He said emphasis is being laid on exterminating mosquitoes. An official said, “Stagnated water will be cleared so that mosquitoes cannot breed.” The official added that the department is containing the mosquito population through chemical, biological and personal protection. Parallelly, stress is being laid on community participation and health education.
A state government medical team visited the village on Saturday and met the sarpanch and gram panchayat members to talk about preventive measures for Zika virus. State surveillance officer Dr Pradip Awate said there is no need to panic. He said patients can recover from Zika with enough rest, by drinking enough water, and using simple paracetamol tablets.
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