No need to panic, Zika outbreak under control: Health Minister

PTI

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda in conversation with RSTV's Neelu Vyas.

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister JP Nadda in conversation with RSTV’s Neelu Vyas.

The Health Ministry Tuesday appealed to people not to panic and assured them that the Zika outbreak was under control, after 29 people were tested positive for the disease in Rajasthan’s Jaipur.

According to a Health Ministry official, 29 people have so far been tested positive for the disease in Rajasthan.

“Zika cases have been detected due to our strong surveillance systems. Our surveillance is very robust and all such cases get detected. We have standard protocols, and in collaboration with the WHO, we follow them to see whether it is an isolated case or a collective case.

“The ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), National Centre for Disease Control and DGHS (Directorate General of Health Services) are monitoring the current situation continuously. I want to assure citizens of India that everything is under control and there is no need to panic,” Union Health Minister J P Nadda said.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Monday sought a comprehensive report from the Health Ministry on the outbreak of Zika virus.

A seven-member high-level central team is in Jaipur to assist the state government in control and containment measures and a control room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to undertake regular monitoring of the situation, according to the ministry.

As one of those affected in Jaipur hailed from Bihar and visited his Siwan home recently, the eastern state has issued advisories to all its 38 districts to keep a close watch on people showing symptoms similar to Zika virus infection.

All suspected cases in the defined area of Jaipur and mosquito samples from this area are being tested. Additional testing kits are provided to viral research and diagnostic laboratories.

The state government has been supplied with information, education and communication (IEC) material prepared to create awareness about Zika virus and its prevention strategies.

All pregnant mothers in the area are being monitored through and extensive surveillance and vector-control measures are being taken up in the area as per protocol by the state government, the official said.

Symptoms of mosquito born Zika virus disease are similar to other viral infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache.

In India, the first outbreak was reported in Ahmedabad in January and February 2017 and second outbreak in July, 2017 from Krishnagiri District in Tamil Nadu. Both these outbreaks were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management, the ministry said.

The disease continues to be on surveillance radars of the Union Health Ministry although it is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern under WHO notification since November 18, 2016.

(PTI)