Zika virus in India
The two mosquitoes that carry Zika virus thrive in India.
The problem with detecting Zika virus among patients in India is that the symptoms in a person infected by Zika mirror those generated by dengue.
India’s health ministry was expected to issue an alert about the virus and start screening those who arrive on flights from Latin America.
On January 29, the Indian Medical Association warned that women who have traveled to affected regions should be tested for the virus.
on February 1, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Jagat Prakash Nadda, said that he discussed guidelines for Zika Virus and assessed the country's preparedness to tackle Zika virus. He has said that there were no reported cases of Zika virus in India yet.
On February 2, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued guidelines on the Zika virus. The guidelines mentioned that the Zika fever has not been reported in India yet. Minister Jagat Nadda said "My ministry is fully geared to deal with the Zika Virus. No case (has been) reported in India. There is no need to panic,".
Indian authorities have warned pregnant women not to travel to destinations affected by the Zika virus outbreak.
On February 2, 2016 the Indian government has issued travel advisory to its citizens travelling to countries affected by the Zika virus outbreak. The government has said that non-essential travel to affected countries should be deferred or cancelled. Pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant should defer/cancel travel to affected destinations. All travellers to the affected countries should take strict precautionary measures.
Efforts to tackle Zika virus in India
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued guidelines on the Zika virus on February 2, 2016. Minister Jaggat Nadda said that the Zika virus was not reported in India yet and there is no need to panic.
- Ministry has also directed all international airports and ports in the country to display signage providing information on the Zika virus as well as instructions to travellers to report to Custom authorities when they return from affected countries and if they show symptoms of fever
- Rapid Response Teams consisting of epidemiologists, public health specialist, microbiologists and paediatric specialists will be activated at Central and state levels to respond to cases of outbreak.
- National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi and the National Institute of Virology in Pune will be the main laboratories to support outbreak investigation
Indian Vaccines manufacturer Bharat Biotech, on Feb 3 2016, announced a breakthrough in developing the world's first Zika vaccine. The company has submitted to the government two vaccine candidates: one inactivated and one recombinant. For more information, read Bharat Biotech.
In February 2016, Sanofi and GSK Pharma have stated that they have the existing platform to create a vaccine.
- Feb 2: India issues travel advisory that includes instructions to pregnant women to avoid travel to countries affected by Zika virus and warnings to travellers to take strict protective measures
Andhra Pradesh Health Minister Kamineni Srinivas asked all health officials and authorities at all international airports in the State to screen passengers for Zika virus. On February 3, 2016, the Minister said health officials must counsel passengers who are going to the Zika affected countries.
Health department in Malappuram has begun taking steps to prevent Zika virus in the district. The measures are adopted the district attracts large number of foreigners. On February 6, 2016 the health department have begun screening of foreigners arrived in the district in the last few days. Mosquito destruction has also begun at various places in the district. A screening counter will be set up at the Kairpur airport soon.