Zika surveillance: State intensifies vector-control and source-reduction measures


Zika, a viral disease, is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
| Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Following the detection of the first case of Zika virus in Karnataka, the State Health Department has intensified containment measures to prevent further spread of the vector-borne disease. On Monday, a three-member central team visited Koli Camp in Raichur district where the first case was detected.

The team — comprising Smitha Rawat, Senior Regional Director, Regional Office of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in Bengaluru, Shubhangi Kulsanghe, Deputy Director at the State unit of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and K. Regu Consultant at Kozhikode unit of NCDC — will investigate and recommend measures to check further spread during its three-day visit.

No need for panic

Meanwhile, the five-year-old girl has recovered. Samples collected from her parents, relatives and friends have also tested negative for Zika, said Randeep D, State Health Commissioner.

He asserted that there is no need to panic as Zika virus infection is milder than dengue and no complications or deaths have been reported so far.

Zika, a viral disease, is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.

Fifty-six deliveries happened in September, October, November and till December 11 in the containment area and no birth defects have been reported in the newborns, the commissioner said.

“The central team that is conducting sensitisation training on Zika for government medical officers and field staff and representatives private medical colleges has recommended state-level sensitization workshops for all other districts. Considering that the index case was admitted at VIMS Ballari, the team has suggested that vector surveillance and control activities should begin in  Ballari as well,” the Commissioner said.

Containment strategy

Mohammed Sharief, State NVBDCP Programme Officer, said the State has already put in place a containment strategy to check the outbreak and prevent further spread of this disease. “We have intensified active human and mosquito surveillance in a five-km radius of the epicentre in Raichur. Besides, integrated vector-control measures and routine laboratory surveillance has also been scaled up,” he said.

“While house-to-house surveillance is being taken up in Raichur district, 21 samples of the 57 pregnant women under ante-natal care in the district and 10 mosquito samples for zeno diagnosis of aedes egypti population have been sent to NIV, Pune on Monday. The remaining ANC samples will also be sent soon,” he said.

As many as 26 teams including ASHAs and ANMs have been deployed for active surveillance and vector control activities. The whole population has been covered in  the five km surrounding radius area which includes seven  villages from 2 sub-centres (Neermanvi and Haveri) on Tuesday and a repeat cycle of surveillance will be done on Friday

“Besides, as mandated by the ICMR, 10% of all dengue and chikungunya negative samples are being tested for Zika. We will further intensify measures based on the central team’s recommendations,” he asserted.

Susanta Kumar Ghosh, former scientist and head, field station of ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research in Bengaluru, said Zika should be included in the routine diagnostic investigations done for suspected dengue and chikungunya cases. “Whenever someone reports with fever with body pain and rashes, sika should also be ruled out along with dengue and chikungunya,” he asserted.



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