Zika has infected Pune before; so, are we ready? – Hindustan Times


Dr Mahendra Jagtap, the state’s entomologist and head of the department that will and is looking at containment of Zika virus in the state, said “The virus is not new to us; especiallyPune. Pune city was exposed to this virus in 1964-1967, so we know the chances of spotting or seeing Zika positive case cannot be denied in the future; but we cannot say that it will enter from other parts of the country, or from a patient who have a travel history to Zika- affected countries. However, we are continuously in touch with the National institute of virology to know about the virus in the country.”

Issuing of special advisories to privateassociations of doctors has not been done yet. “We will soon send out guidelines and notificationsto the obstetrics and gynaecological associations in the state to be watchful for symptoms in pregnant women; also to especially look out for symptomsin foetusesduring sonographies. Any abnormalityin the foetus when it comes to the circumference of the head can help us in picking up the virus’s infection early. This will help us in being alert and provide immediate managementto the patient and contain the spread on priority basis,” Dr Jagtap said.

When asked about the absence of isolation wards for Zika, Dr Jagtap said, “Quarantining a patient will not help; it did not help in containing the spread of swine flu, but it will not help in containing the spread of this infection because our population does not adhere to the norms issued by the government. Hence, a better management plan is needed.”

A national meet of all agencies relevant to the issue will be held today, Monday, October 8; the topic of discussion? The Zika virus and India’s preparedness to handle a break-out of the virus.

Dr R Gangakhedkar, national head and director of Epidemiology and communicable diseases, government of India, confirmed the meeting to HT, scheduled to take place in New Delhi.

On October 5, the Zika virus is believed to have affected seven in the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan, of which three are pregnant women. Post the meeting, an advisory is to be issued and circulated to all states by the Indian council of medical research (ICMR) and department of epidemiology, government of India.

Dr Gangakhedkar said: “It is an extremely sensitive issue and we do not know to what extent we have to be proactive. On Monday we will be conducting a meeting in this regard and after thorough discussion, will be issue an advisory which will be circulated to all the states. As of now we cannot say anything more than this.”

The virus, has been detected in at least three states as of now — Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

Is Maharashtra ready? Dr Pradeep Awate, head of infectious diseases for the state and an epidemiologist, said, “As of now there is no threat and we are continuing to conduct our sentinel surveillance in the state. So far no positive case of Zika virus has come to light. People do not have to panic.”

First Published: Oct 08, 2018 14:27 IST

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