New Delhi: Amid concerns of Zika virus detected in Kerala with 14 cases having been reported so far, Public health expert Dr Mathew Varghese warned that epidemiologists must be concerned about the resurfacing of the virus, adding that people should not be scared.
"Zika virus is not spread by contact or aerosols. It is spread by mosquitos. That is a different epidemiology. I would not worry about it at this point in time. Epidemiologists and the Kerala Public Health dept has to be concerned that from somewhere Zika has come, and find a way to control the virus and mosquitoes. We should not create a scare among the people," he told ANI.
After 14 cases of Zika virus were found in Kerala, high alert was flagged in all districts, especially for pregnant women. The Karnataka government on Friday (July 9) also issued guidelines in order to prevent the spread of the Zika virus from neighbouring Kerala.
Meanwhile, a six-member central team of experts was dispatched to Kerala to monitor the Zika virus situation and support the state government in management of cases, the Union health ministry informed on Friday.
Zika virus, first reported in India at Ahmedabad in January 2017, spreads mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, which bites during the day. The same mosquito is responsible for transmitting other diseases like dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
Meanwhile, Varghese, also former director of St Stephens Hospital in Delhi, commented on the mutation of COVID-19 virus and said we have to be careful. "It is normal for viruses to mutate. They will keep mutating. This is the norm, it's not unusual. We have to be prepared for various types of variants in the environment and have to be careful,” he added.
The health expert defended visitors thronging tourist spots, however, cautioned that strict compliance to COVID-19 norms must be adopted by them. "Tourist spots are getting crowded because people are getting more and more fed up with the closed lockdown life, and I think we need to grant it to them. Allow them to have open spaces but they must follow precautions very strictly, especially in indoor spaces," Varghese told ANI.
(With agency inputs)