Mumbai: Maharashtra is reporting confirmed Zika virus cases, with several outbreaks since it was first identified in India in 2016. The mosquito-borne Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 and has caused outbreaks in various regions, including Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific.

Zika virus infection has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly. The current rise in cases in Maharashtra prompted the Union Health Ministry to issue an advisory for vigilance. ETHealthworld consulted a few experts for insights on the outbreak and prevention measures.

Dr Honey Savla, Internal Medicine, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai Central, noted the concerning increase in Pune, attributed to dense population and monsoon conditions favoring mosquito breeding. Dr Anita Mathew, Director-Internal Medicine & Infectious Disease Specialist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, emphasised preventive measures against mosquito bites to avoid Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases. Symptoms include fever, rashes, muscle and joint pain, headaches, and conjunctivitis, lasting two to seven days. Diagnosis requires a blood test.

Dr Harish MM, Intensive Care Physician and Infectious Disease Specialist, Director-Institute of Critical Care Medicine, Kauvery Hospital Marathahalli, stressed the importance of vector control, public education, and timely medical intervention. Pregnant women should take extra precautions and seek regular prenatal care. Dr Mathew highlighted the absence of specific vaccines or therapies for Zika, advocating for preventive measures like insect repellents, long-sleeved clothing, and eliminating stagnant water.

Dr Savla called for intensified surveillance, vector control, and public education to curb the virus spread. A coordinated effort from health authorities, communities, and experts is essential to address this public health challenge effectively. Enhanced surveillance, public awareness, and healthcare preparedness are crucial in dealing with outbreaks.

  • Published On Jul 3, 2024 at 05:57 PM IST

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