Pune: The city has recorded its first case of a pregnant woman infected by the Zika virus. This is the fifth case overall since the infections resurfaced over the last 10 days.

The woman from Erandwane was identified as part of the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) surveillance undertaken after two Zika cases were reported in the area recently.

The woman is undergoing treatment and will be retested. Of the five Zika cases at the moment, three are from Erandwane and two from Mundhwa.

Epidemiologist Dr Amitav Banerjee said, “Zika in pregnant women is a cause of concern mainly as it can cause microcephaly (smaller head circumference) in the baby. If the infection is reported in the first trimester, it could be more concerning as this is when the head is developing.”

PMC’s surveillance and fogging activities underway as another Zika case confirmed
After a pregant woman in the city has tested positive for the Zika virus, alarm bells are sounding among health experts and the authorities.

Epidemiologist Dr Amitav Banerjee said, “The virus may be prevalent within the community and will emerge only through testing, just like dengue and chikungunya through mosquitoes. Both the virus and vector are present in the community.”

PMC deputy health officer Dr Kalpana Baliwant told TOI, “The fifth confirmed Zika virus case, a pregnant woman (28), resides in Ganeshnagar. Her test report confirmed the infection on May 28 after samples were sent to NIV after the first two cases were reported from Erandwane. We sent ahead samples of all those with symptoms and that of the pregnant women in the locality as a precaution. The woman’s sonography report in May did not report anomalies in the foetus, but we have asked for an update on Monday again.”

PMC assistant health officer Dr Rajesh Dighe said, “None of the five Zika cases in the city have any travel history. The only connection of this pregnant woman to the two Zika cases is that she lives 150m away from the doctor’s house, who was the first case. We have collected three more samples now and surveillance in Mundhwa is also already underway. Test results are awaited from NIV. As of now, we have surveyed over 3,000 homes in Erandwane and 3,100 in Mundhwa. We found multiple discarded containers, plastic cans and tyres where water can accumulate, leading to breeding of mosquitoes. We have discarded all possible sources and educated residents on precautions.” PMC has also conducted fogging activities in both areas. Dr Ameet Dravid, infectious disease expert from Noble Hospital, said, “It can now be said that Zika is prevalent in the community as these patients did not have travel history and are from different locations. The reason we test most people only for dengue but not Zika is because the latter costs around Rs 6,000. Also, treatment for both is the same.”

Dr Aarti Kinikar, head of the paediatric department at BJ Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital, said, “Microcephaly can be caused by a variety of reasons, including infections like Zika, rubella and herpes within the first three months in the womb, when the brain is rapidly developing. These infections intrude into the baby through the placenta and during that period, development of organs is halted, resulting in a small head size while the rest of the baby develops.”

Palkhi arrangements

Epidemiologists raised concerns as the rising number of Zika cases is clashing with the time that lakhs of pilgrims march into the city with the Palkhi. Civic officials, however, have been making arrangements to avoid an outbreak. with health camps in many locations and doctors to check for symptoms, provide drugs.

  • Published On Jul 1, 2024 at 10:25 AM IST

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