The Zika virus (ZIKV) infection has been traced to a resident of Kerala state in southwest India. According to the WHO’s health officials, this is the first Zika case confirmed in Kerala. The infection was confirmed in a laboratory using RT-PCR testing in National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune.
A blood sample was collected from a 24-year-old woman in her third trimester of pregnancy.
The woman was admitted to a private hospital on June 28 this year.
She experienced symptoms of fever, headache and general rash.
Initital tests for dengue virus (DENV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) were negative.
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The WHO said in a statement: “The woman delivered on July 7, she was reportedly in good health and there were no apparent birth defects in the newborn.
“In the three months before delivery, she had resided in Trivandrum district not having travelled during that period.
“Among her close contacts, her mother reported having fever and similar symptoms one week before ZIKV confirmation in her daughter.”
Health officials have since tested 19 other people, including hospital staff and patients who experienced symptoms of fever, myalgia, arthralgia and petechial lesions in May this year.
Pregnant women are particularly at risk as infection can lead to microcephaly and other defects known as congenital Zika syndrome.
According to the WHO, Zika infections have also been associated with other complications such as preterm birth and miscarriage.
Between July 8 and 26, health officials have collected 590 blood samples in Kerala to screen them for the Zika virus.
Of the tested samples, 70 returned positive results – a rate of 11.9 percent – including four collected from pregnant women.
All cases were reported in the Trivandrum district, with the exception of two from the Ernakulam and Kottayam districts.
On July 31, India’s Maharashtra state also reported its very first case of Zika.
A 50 year-old woman from the village of Belsar, Purandar Taluka administrative unit, tested positive for ZIKV and CHIKV.
The WHO said: “Fifty-one additional samples from ZIKV suspected cases were collected from Belsar village, of them 40 tested negative for ZIKV and 11 are still pending for results.
“So far, no cases of microcephaly and/or Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) have been linked with this outbreak.”