As India is set to roll out the new health policy, three cases of Zika Virus-induced infections reported from Gujarat – one of the most developed states in India. In the Disease Outbreak News section, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) reported three laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika Virus disease in Bapunagar, Ahmadabad, Gujarat.
The etiology of this case has been further confirmed through a positive RT-PCR test and sequencing at the national reference laboratory, National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune on 4 January 2017 (case 2, below). Two additional cases (case 1 and case 3), have then been identified through the Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) and the Antenatal clinic (ANC) surveillance.
The WHO reported Three Cases in Chronological Order:
Case 1: During the Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) surveillance between 10 to 16 February 2016, a total of 93 blood samples were collected at BJ Medical College (BJMC), Ahmedabad, Gujarat. One sample from a 64-year-old male presenting with febrile illness of 8 days’ duration (negative for dengue infection) was found to be positive for Zika virus at BJMC, Ahmedabad. This is the first Zika positive case reported through AFI surveillance at BJMC, Ahmedabad, Gujarat State.
Case 2: A 34-year-old female, delivered a clinically well baby at BJMC in Ahmedabad on 9 November 2016. During her hospital stay, she developed a low-grade fever after delivery. No history of fever during pregnancy and no history of travel for the past three months was reported. A sample from the patient was referred to the Viral Research & Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) at the BJMC for dengue testing and thereafter found to be positive for Zika virus. She was discharged after one week (on 16 November 2016). The sample was re-confirmed as Zika virus positive by RT-PCR and sequencing at NIV, Pune.
Case 3: During the Antenatal clinic (ANC) surveillance between 6 and 12 January 2017, a total of 111 blood samples were collected at BJMC. One sample from a 22-year-old pregnant female in her 37th week of pregnancy has been tested positive for Zika virus disease.
The WHO Outlined the Public Health Response:
- National Guidelines and Action Plan on Zika virus disease have been shared with the States to prevent an outbreak of Zika virus disease and containment of spread in case of any outbreak.
- An Inter-Ministerial Task Force has been set up under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) together with Secretary (Bio-Technology), and Secretary (Department of Health Research). The Joint Monitoring Group, a technical group tasked to monitor emerging and re-emerging diseases is regularly reviewing the global situation on Zika virus disease.
- All the international airports and ports have displayed information for travelers on Zika virus disease.
- The airport health officers along with airport organizations, National Centre for Disease Control, and the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme are monitoring appropriate vector control measures in airport premises.
- The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) is tracking for clustering of acute febrile illness in the community.
- In addition to National Institute of Virology, Pune, and NCDC in Delhi, 25 laboratories have also been strengthened by Indian Council of Medical Research for laboratory diagnosis. In addition, 3 entomological laboratories are conducting Zika virus testing on mosquito samples.
- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has tested 34 233 human samples and 12 647 mosquito samples for the presence of Zika virus. Among those, close to 500 mosquitos samples were collected from Bapunagar area, Ahmedabad District, in Gujarat, and were found negative for Zika.
- The Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) is monitoring microcephaly from 55 sentinel sites. As of now, no increase in a number of cases or clustering of microcephaly has been reported from these centers.
- Risk communication materials are being finalized by the Central Health Education Bureau, in consultation with UNICEF