India on alert as Zika virus hits tourism hot spot of Jaipur

Given that the pink city is part of India’s golden triangle tourist circuit connecting the national capital and Agra authorities said strict surveillance was required in the region

Rajasthan declares alert over Zika virus outbreak

India has sent experts to try to contain an outbreak of the zika virus in the popular tourist destination of Jaipur, capital of the northern state of Rajasthan, with a close watch on pregnant women.

First discovered in 1947, the zika virus reached epidemic proportions in Brazil in 2015, when thousands of babies were born with microcephaly, a brain defect affecting speech and motor function.

The outbreak in Jaipur was detected through the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) surveillance system.

The Zika virus is mainly transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, including Aedes aegypti that carries dengue.

"A seven-member high-level central team was deputed to Jaipur immediately following the detection of the first case to assist the state government in control and containment measures".

A control room has been set up at the NCDC to undertake regular monitoring of the situation.

All suspected cases in the defined area of Jaipur and mosquito samples from this area are being tested. All pregnant mothers in the area are being monitored through the National Health Mission (NHM). "The situation is being reviewed at the level of Union ministry of health and monitored on a daily basis by the secretary, health", Union health minister JP Nadda said in the statement. Additional testing kits are provided to viral research and diagnostic laboratories.

It is the third such outbreak in India, with the first in the western city of Ahmedabad in January 2017 and the second in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in July 2017.

Zika virus disease has so far been reported from 86 countries across the world. "Extensive surveillance and vector control measures are being taken up in the area as per protocol by the state government", the ministry added.

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