As Kerala battles COVID-19, state Health Minister Veena George on Thursday, 15 July, said that five more people in the state have been diagnosed with the Zika virus, taking the tally to 28.
"Two people in Anayara, one each in Kunnukuzhi, Pattom and East Fort (have been diagnosed)," George stated, news agency ANI reported.
The state recorded four cases of Zika virus, bringing the total number of cases to 23 on Wednesday.
George had said that a 16-year-old Thiruvananthapuram girl was found infected with the virus.
Among the affected was also a 38-year-old doctor from a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram and two others, including a woman, India Today reported.
On Monday, Thiruvananthapuram Medical College began testing samples. Fifteen were tested, out of which one was found to be infected with Zika, and another with dengue, according to the report.
On 9 July, 14 cases of Zika virus infections were detected in Kerala, in a first for the state, the state health ministry confirmed.
"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 8 July, reported IANS.
Following this, health officials had visited the hospitals and all districts had 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 percent.
According to World Health Organization, 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.
(With inputs from India Today and ANI)