Health authorities in various districts of Kerala state in southern India have declared a state of alert after monitoring 15 cases related to the Zika virus.
The Minister of Local Health Affairs, Veena George, confirmed the presence of infections in the district of Trivandrum, which is now called the district of Thiruvananthapuram.
India had recorded an outbreak of Zika in the state of Gujarat, located in western India, in 2016 and 2017.
Research has shown that the mosquito-borne virus leads to brain atrophy in children and the spread of a rare autoimmune disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Although the virus is spread by mosquitoes, it can also be transmitted through sex.
All of the new cases were recorded among the province’s health care workers.
George said in a statement that the first person to contract the virus was a 24-year-old pregnant woman from a town bordering Tamil Nadu state.
This woman was admitted to a hospital in the state capital of Kerala for a delivery on 28 June after complaining of fever, headache and a rash on the skin.
The woman gave birth on Wednesday.
“She is stable,” George said. “The birth was normal. She has no record of out-of-state travel.”
She added, in press statements, that the continuous monsoon rains have turned the affected areas into a “fertile ground for mosquitoes.”
State Health Minister Dr Rajan Khobragad told the BBC that the government had sent teams for “strong monitoring in the areas where the epidemic had occurred”, to educate people about the epidemic, follow up on cases of pregnant women and advise couples.
Kerala is battling an ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic; The frequency of confirmed infections has increased by 10 percent over the past seven days.
India recorded its first case of coronavirus in January 2020.
The Zika virus was first identified among monkeys living in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947. The virus was only officially diagnosed as a separate virus from other viruses in 1952.
However, researchers discovered that “significant numbers” of people in India were exposed to the virus, as long as 33 of the 196 cases examined had immunity.
In a research paper published in 1953, they said, “It therefore seems certain that the Zika virus is attacking people in India.”
In 2016 and 2017, Gujarat, located in western India, recorded some cases of Zika virus originating from Ahmedabad.
What do we know about virus Zika?
• Although the virus is spread mostly by mosquitoes, it can be transmitted through sexual intercourse.
• Few people die from Zika and it is believed that only one in five people develop the disease. This can include fever, rash, and joint pain.
• The virus was first detected among monkeys in Uganda in 1947. The first case was in Nigeria in 1954, then the epidemic spread more and more in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
• In May 2015, the virus appeared in Brazil and then spread rapidly.