World Health Organization confirms three Zika virus cases in Ahmedabad, 1st in the country

This is the first Zika positive case reported through AFI surveillance at BJMC, Ahmedabad, Gujarat State.

However, during a routine laboratory surveillance being conducted at BJ Medical College in Ahmedabad, a sample tested positive for Zika virus.

The third case was of a 22-year-old pregnant female in her 37th week of pregnancy.

All of these cases stemmed from the Bapunagar area in Gujarat, and have been confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare-Government of India. It detected the infections in the three residents of Ahmedabad's Bapunagar neighbourhood between January and February this year and reported them to the World Health Organization earlier this month after confirmatory tests. The sample was re-confirmed later as Zika virus-positive by the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

"India has strengthened its surveillance system in past few years, so we are able to detect and contain new infections". The ministry had in March cited one confirmed case of Zika - from January of this year in Gujarat - while answering a question in India's parliament. Also, a 34-year-old woman delivered a baby at BJMC on November 9 and during her stay in the hospital she developed a low-grade fever after delivery.

Non-essential travel to the affected countries should be deferred/cancelled, especially pregnant women.

Since Zika erupted on a large scale in mid-2015, more than 1.5 million people have been infected, mostly in Brazil and other countries in South America.

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Initially, a sample from the patient was referred to the Viral Research & Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) at the BJMC for dengue testing, but later it tested positive for Zika virus.

Travellers who complain of fever within two weeks of return from an affected country should report to the nearest health facility. Meanwhile, a technical group tasked to monitor emerging and re-emerging diseases regularly reviewed the global situation on Zikavirus disease.

All the worldwide airports and ports have displayed information for travellers on Zika virus disease. Among those, close to 500 mosquitoes samples were collected from Bapunagar area, Ahmedabad district, in Gujarat, and were found negative for Zika. Local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes mosquitoes has been reported on the continents of Africa, the Americas, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific.

The disease is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito - the same mosquito that transmits dengue and chikungunya.

The world health body also asks people travelling to high risk areas, especially pregnant women, to take basic precautions for protection including use of repellents, wearing light coloured, long sleeved shirts and trousers and ensuring rooms are fitted with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering.

The WHO has not recommended any travel or trade restriction to India based on the current information available.

"These include the use of (mosquito) repellents, wearing light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and trousers, and ensuring rooms are fitted with screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering".

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