India has detected its first cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, with three people, including a pregnant woman, reporting the infection in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, according to the World Health organisation (WHO).
Gujarat’s largest city, Bapunagar is the place from where all the three cases of Zika virus occurred. It is reported that the first infection was detected in February last year, the second in November and the latest one this January.
However, the UN agency termed the news as “low-level transmission”, but also warned that new cases of the disease linked to babies born with underdeveloped brains could occur in the future.
The World Health Organisation revealed, “The cases were picked up during random monitoring and surveillance at the BJ Medical College in Ahmedabad. The patients were a 64-year-old man, a 34-year-old new mother and a 22-year-old pregnant woman.”
Director-general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Soumya Swaminathan said, “We were concerned about the babies. Luckily, both mothers and the babies are fine.”
He added further, “The third case was of a man with fever, who tested negative for both dengue and chikungunya but positive for Zika.”
The Gujarat government’s minister of state for health, Shankar Chaudhary said,
“The situation is under control. All the necessary steps have been taken and since then no fresh cases have been reported.”
Zika virus is caused by the same mosquito (aedes aegypti ) that transmits dengue and chikungunya. The symptoms of Zika virus are mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.
In pregnant women, it can cause birth defects such as unusually small heads and other brain abnormalities in babies in the womb. The infection can also cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that causes paralysis.
There is no treatment or vaccine for the Zika infection.