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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States has advised pregnant women not to travel Rajasthan and surrounding states due to an outbreak of the Zika virus.

The US government agency said a pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her foetus. “There is an unusual increase in the number of Zika cases in Rajasthan and surrounding states. Pregnant women should not travel to areas with risk of Zika,” says the alert by CDC.

According to The World Health Organisation (WHO), as of 2 November 2018, 157 cases have been identified in India, including 63 pregnant women.  Before this outbreak, India reported four confirmed cases of Zika virus infection in 2017, three cases in Ahmedabad Gujarat and one case in Krishnagiri District of Tamil Nadu.

In 2015, Brazil reported a major Zika outbreak, with researchers linking Zika to microcephaly, which leads to babies being born with small and underdeveloped brains.

However, research by scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has shown that the Zika strain in India is less virulent and not associated with microcephaly.

In India, the first outbreak was reported in Ahmedabad in January 2017 and the second in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district in July that year. Both these outbreaks were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management, the ministry had said earlier.

In Rajasthan, the first case had surfaced on September 22 when an 85-year-old woman with no travel history tested positive for the disease. Fogging and other anti-larvae activities are being carried out in the Shastri Nagar area to prevent the spread of the virus.

A control room was activated at the National Centre for Disease Control to monitor the situation. Since then, the number of monitoring teams in Jaipur increased from 50 to 170 and a special isolation ward was created at the Hira Bagh Training Centre to treat Zika virus-affected patients.

The Rajasthan government has been provided information, education and communication (IEC) material prepared to create awareness about the Zika virus and prevention strategies.

The virus, transmitted through the aedes aegypti mosquito, causes fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain. It is harmful to pregnant women, as it can lead to microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head is significantly smaller than expected, in newborn children.



(Input taken from sources)

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