India Was Attacked by ‘Zika’ Even in 1952


India has all the reason to fear Zika, the mosquito borne infection which is currently threatening the world.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert declaring the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil in May, 2015.  There were reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and babies born with birth defect and poor pregnancy outcomes. Now the virus is spreading explosively in America, informed the international health officials.

Brazil president has declared a crusade against the mosquito after knowing that there is no existing medical defense that can fight it.  He said, “As long as we don’t have a vaccine against Zika virus, the war must be focused on exterminating the mosquito’s breeding areas.”

As of now Asia is still considered to be Zika free, as all the samples analysed for the virus by National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, were found negative.

However, BBC reported that when the institute was established in 1952, to decide what disease it should focus on, a few scientists had been given that task. These scientists made a list of 15 insect-borne diseases and the virus was included in the lists. They went out across India and collected blood samples. They found out that a significant number of people in India were exposed to the disease.

D T Maurya, director of NIV said, “NIV has molecular test ready, if needed Zika virus suspected acute samples can be tested.”

He added, “We have Aedes Aegypti but for ages we don’t have yellow fever in India. This virus never got introduced in India and never got established as public health problem even in Asia. Similarly, a similar prediction can be made at this moment about Zika virus”

“We are in the process of procuring testing kits for detecting Zika virus. The government is also writing to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to know more about the infection and prepare accordingly,” informed a senior official from the Zoonosis unit of the union ministry of health and family welfare.

World Health Organization also has warned China and other countries that have dengue cases to lookout for Zika infection. It also said that it might take many years to invent a vaccine for the virus.

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