The Union's Ministry of Health said on Saturday that advanced molecular studies suggest that the Zika virus strain affecting patients in Rajasthan does not contain the known mutations associated with fetal microcephaly and the high transferability of the virus to Aedes mosquitoes.

The paper cites studies of Rajasthan Zika virus strains performed by the National Institute of Virology (NIV) of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Pune, through Next Generation Sequencing.

Severe vigil continues

The publication added that the government maintains a strict vigil as there may be adverse effects on pregnancy in women exposed to the Zika virus, as the strain may mutate in the future, or other unknown factors / host factors may play a role Microcephaly / other birth defects.

The publication said that the Ministry of Health is reviewing the situation on a daily basis. Approximately 2,000 samples were tested for Zika virus positivity, of which 159 positive cases were confirmed.

Sufficient test kits were provided to Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratories. The state government has been equipped with IEC material to increase awareness of Zika virus disease and its prevention strategies. All pregnant women in the area are monitored by the National Health Mission. Extensive surveillance and vector control measures are also underway in the region.

Zika virus disease is an emerging disease that is currently reported in 86 countries worldwide. The symptoms are similar to other viral infections such as dengue fever and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise and headache.

Vector Management

In India, the first outbreak was reported in Ahmedabad in January / February 2017 and the second outbreak in July 2017 from the Krishnagiri district in Tamil Nadu. Both outbreaks have been successfully curbed by intensive monitoring and vector management.

The disease continues to be present on radar equipment for monitoring the disease of the Union Ministry of Health, even though, according to a WHO communication of 18 November 2016, it is no longer a public health emergency of international concern.



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