NEW DELHI: Centre on Wednesday asked states to maintain a state of constant vigil over the Zika virus situation in the country, amid reports of spread of the mosquito-borne infection in various districts of Maharashtra.
As on July 2, Centre confirmed, Maharashtra has reported eight cases of Zika virus infection: six from Pune and one each from Kolhapur and Sangamner.
Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, like dengue and chikungunya. It spreads when a mosquito carrying the virus infects a person. Experts say the infection doesn’t cause severe symptoms in most cases and subsides in a few days. However, in the case of pregnant women, the infection is known to affect the foetus and cause microcephaly (reduced head size) which makes it a major concern.
According to the health ministry, director general of health services Atul Goel has issued an advisory to states highlighting the need for maintaining constant vigil. As Zika is associated with microcephaly and neurological consequences in the foetus of the affected pregnant woman, the health ministry said on Wednesday, states have been advised to alert the clinicians for close monitoring.
“States are urged to instruct the health facilities to screen pregnant women, monitor the growth of the foetus of expecting mothers who have tested positive for Zika and act as per central guidelines,” it said.