79 villages in Pune declared vulnerable to Zika virus


The health department in Maharashtra’s Pune district is on high alert after the district reported the state’s first case of Zika virus. Pune district collector has issued an order declaring 79 villages in the district as hypersensitive to the virus.

Following district collector Dr Rajesh Deshmukh’s order, the health department has been informed about the virus risk and emergency measures have been started in these villages.

The district collector in his order, issued on August 5, stated that 79 villages in Pune district would be kept under surveillance for Zika virus infection. The local administration have been asked to keep a tab on these villages.

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Additionally, at the gram panchayat level, the district administration has directed the taluka administration and the health department to implement precautionary measures immediately.

These 79 villages have been listed as hypersensitive to the infection in view of rising number of confirmed cases of dengue and chikungunya reported from these villages in the last three years.

If cases of dengue and chikungunya are found in these 79 villages, their blood samples will be tested for Zika infection as well.

The district collector has also appealed to the residents to follow certain preventive measures including proper garbage disposal, integrated pest management, and making a collective effort to keep the areas mosquito-free.

ZIKA VIRUS ALERT IN PUNE

On June 30, a woman in Belasar village of Pune district tested positive for Zika virus after her samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV). This was the first such case of Zika virus in Maharashtra. The woman had developed fever earlier in the month and had later recovered. No one from her family showed symptoms of Zika virus.

After this, authorities in Maharashtra were put on alert and the health department started taking measures to prevent further spread of the Zika virus disease in the state.

WHAT IS ZIKA VIRUS?

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that spreads through the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquito. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, peaking during early morning and late afternoon or evening. This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

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According to the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), many people infected by the virus won’t have symptoms or show mild symptoms that include fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain. The symptoms can last for several days, and if it continues for long, the patient might need hospital care.

There is no specific medicine for the treatment of Zika virus infection. There is no vaccine for protection from Zika virus. There is a Zika-appropriate behaviour protocol that is recommended to stay safe and be prevented from this viral infection.

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