Outbreaks of the Zika virus were reported this year from Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra, with 149, 83 and one cases in these states respectively, as of November 27, Lok Sabha was informed on Friday The government has sent central teams to all these states for initiating control and preventive measures. Central teams have worked with state and district authorities to implement Zika containment plans according to the health ministry’s guidelines, Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written reply.
She said that the government has formulated an action plan for Zika containment that can be adopted by states and union territories and also modified according to their requirement.
This action plan contains all macro and micro details for managing Zika outbreaks and contains a list of laboratories which have been strengthened for Zika testing, the minister said.
Responding to a question on whether the country has the infrastructure and expertise for testing and treating persons infected with the Zika virus, Pawar said the country has requisite expertise and infrastructure to test and treat persons infected with Zika.
It is a mosquito borne viral disease that may present with mild fever, cough, conjunctivitis, myalgia, asthenia and rash, she said.
The disease usually lasts two to seven days and is not known to cause mortality, Pawar said.
However, babies born to mothers who are infected with Zika virus during pregnancy are known to develop neurological disabilities and malformations, the minister said.
Taking note of these, the government is currently doing sentinel surveillance of microcephaly, Pawar stated.
It has developed various resource material for utilisation by medical practitioners, laboratories, blood banks, guidelines for mosquito control and community sensitisation for prevention of the disease, she said.
Central teams are deputed to the states for assistance in case of Zika virus outbreak.