Zika virus: India steps up effort to monitor situation, may issue travel advisory

There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, which is like dengue and causes mild fever, rash and red eyes. 

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry on Friday said that it is taking necessary steps against the Zika virus that has already caused much damage in Brazil and now spread to about 24 countries in the Americas.

 

The Health ministry decided to set up a technical group that would monitor the situation arising out of the spread of Zika virus in other countries and suggest steps that would need to be taken in India.

The move came day after an alarmed World Health Organisation (WHO) called convened an emergency meeting next week to discuss if the Zika virus outbreak amounts to a

global health emergency.

"We are closely monitoring the situation of Zika cases and all necessary steps have been initiated to ensure that India is well prepared in case of any eventuality," said Health Minister JP Nadda at a meeting held to take stock of the recent cases of Zika in the world.

The minister called for increased focus on prevention to control the spread of the Aedes mosquito that breeds in clean water and is implicated in the spread of the Zika virus.

"We are focusing on especially strengthening the surveillance system," said the minister.

Sources revealed that the ministry is likely to issue a travel advisory considering the spread of the virus.

The WHO had on Thursday issued a warning to all countries, including India, who have the vector of Aedes mosquito, adding that the Zika virus is "spreading explosively" and could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas.

There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, which is like dengue and causes mild fever, rash and red eyes.

Health agencies investigating the Zika outbreaks are finding an increasing body of evidence about the link between Zika virus and microcephaly, a condition of abnormally small head in babies.

(With Agency inputs)

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