14 Zika Cases Detected in Kerala, Even as COVID Cases on the Rise
This is the first time that the presence of Zika virus has been confirmed in the state.
At least 14 cases of Zika virus infections have been detected in Kerala, the state health ministry confirmed on Friday, 9 July, reported Hindustan Times. This is the first time that the presence of Zika virus has been confirmed in the state.
According to Mathrubhumi, all the cases are from Thiruvananthapuram.
A 24-year-old pregnant woman from Parassala, who is undergoing treatment in a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, was the first to be diagnosed with the disease, according to IANS.
Following that, of the 19 samples sent to the National Institute of Virology, 13 were found to be positive for the virus, the state government said on Friday.
"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," state Health Minister Veena George had said on Thursday, 8 July, reported IANS.
Health officials have visited the hospitals and all districts have been alerted.
What is Zika Virus?
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Zika is a mosquito-borne flavivirus and there is no antiviral treatment or vaccine for Zika. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and there have been very few cases of death due to the virus.
Many people infected with Zika virus don't have symptoms or sometimes show only mild symptoms, like fever, rashes, headache, joint pains, red eyes, and muscle soreness.
In 2017, following a study on Brazil’s confirmed cases, the US National Institutes of Health study estimated the fatality rate at 8.3%.
According to World Health Organisation, it was first identified in monkeys in Uganda in 1947 and later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.
In 2018, 80 cases of the Zika virus were detected in Jaipur, which was India’s first large-scale outbreak of the virus.
Kerala Battles Rising COVID Cases
This comes at a crucial time as the state is already battling with a massive COVID caseload.
Kerala’s active caseload has increased by almost 12,000 cases in the last 10 days. On 1 June, the state recorded 19,760 positive cases, but the number began declining, reaching 14,424 on 10 June. Since then, the daily numbers have remained in the 11,000-15,000 range. Of the 90 districts across the country that account for 80 percent of the new cases, 14 are in Kerala. The overall test positivity rate is 10.9 percent.
Though case numbers never quite subsided in the last few months, Kerala’s fatality rate continues to be at 0.5 percent, less than half of the national average of 1.32 percent.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times and IANS)
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