Withdraw or modify Zika alert, government of India tells CDC

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Zika Mosquito
Zika Mosquito

Earlier this month the US body had issued a travel alert which said that Zika is endemic in India

Taking strong exception to the use of the word endemic in its Level 2 travel alert on Zika in India, government of India has written to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “withdraw or modify” the alert.

The CDC Zika alert says: “An outbreak of Zika has been reported in IndiaZika is endemic (regularly found) in India. However, 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.”

India’s position is that there were a few outbreaks of the mosquito borne disease in India but every one of them have been effectively contained. More importantly, the government of India feels, the Indian Zika strain is different. It does not, according to the findings of some of the best research institutes in the country, have an association with microcephaly.

In Brazil in 2015 children born to Zika infected mothers were born with smaller sized heads and I completely developed brains. This had caused worldwide panic then.

Zika is a mosquito-borne infection spread by a virus. First identified in Uganda in 1947 among monkeys, it was detected in humans five years later.

Over October and November this year, more than 150 cases of Zika were reported mainly from Rajasthan. There have also been some cases in Gujarat, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh after some people travelled from Rajasthan. This is the third instance in recent times when Zika cases have been found in India. On 15 May 2017, the government of India had reported  to the World Health Organisation three laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad that were detected in January. There was also a cluster of cases reported from Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. The government of India had faced criticism when the cases were reported from Gujarat for having “concealed” the cases. It was WHO who issued a press release about the cases.

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