West Nile Virus: central team heads to Kerala

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Zika, Jaipur
A mosquito feeding on blood

One case of West Nile Virus has been reported from Malappuram in Kerala

Union health ministry on Thursday sent a multi-disciplinary team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to support Kerala health authorities in managing West Nile Virus. A section of the media has reported that a seven year old boy from Malappuram District of Kerala is suffering from a West Nile Virus (WNV), a mosquito-borne disease, mostly reported in the continental United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States.  It is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also been alerted and a close watch is being maintained at Central and State level.  There are no reports available so far for spread of this virus in other parts of the country.

In a statement the Union ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that health minister J P Nadda is “closely monitoring the situation and has reviewed it with Secretary (HFW) Ms. Preeti Sudan. He has directed for all support to be extended to Kerala in its prevention and management.”

Secretary Sudan has also spoken with Additional Chief Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan in Kerala and reviewed the situation. The Central team includes Dr. Ruchi Jain, RHO Trivandrum, Dr Suneet Kaur, Assitant Director, NCDC, Dr E Rajendran, Entomologist, NCDC, Calicut and Dr Binoy Basu, EIS Officer, NCDC. The team will support the State Health Authorities in managing the disease.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also been alerted and a close watch is being maintained at Central and State level.  There are no reports available so far for spread of this virus in other parts of the country.