Zika Virus Outbreaks

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Zika virus disease has local transmission in 41 countries during 2015-16, mainly involving Latin America. World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Zika virus disease to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 1st February, 2016.

Aedes mosquito which transmits Zika virus disease is widely prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the Americas, South East Asia, Africa, Eastern Mediterranean and the Western Pacific. WHO has informed that Zika virus is likely to be transmitted and detected in countries within the geographical range of the vector Aedes mosquito.

Technical guidelines and travel advisory were issued and disseminated and also made available on the website of the Ministry. States where Dengue transmission is on, namely Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and UT of Puducherry have been alerted. National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi has been identified as the nodal agency for investigation of outbreak in any part of the country. Fifteen International Airports and nine major ports have displayed signages providing information for travelers on Zika virus disease and advising the travelers to report if they are returning from any of the affected countries and suffering from febrile illness. Immigration authorities at these Airports have been sensitized. Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued instruction to all international airlines to follow the recommended aircraft disinsection guidelines. Vector control measures have been implemented at International Airports and Ports. National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi and National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, have established the capacity to provide laboratory diagnosis of Zika virus disease in acute febrile stage. National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme has alerted all its field units for enhanced vector (Aedes mosquitoes) control. National AIDS Control Organization has issued advisory for blood banks and potential blood donors to prevent transmission of Zika virus infection by blood transfusion. A 24×7 control room cum Help Line has started functioning from Directorate General of Health Services. Public has been made aware about Zika virus disease through press releases issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The situation is being monitored regularly.

There is no specific treatment for Zika virus Disease. People affected with Zika virus are advised to take plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with paracetamol. They are also advised to take personal protective measures against mosquito bite.

The Health Minister, Shri J P Nadda stated this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha here today.