Active surveillance of Zika virus needed to prevent future outbreaks, suggests ICMR- NIV Pune study

By Shalini BhardwajNew Delhi [India], February 11 (ANI): An Indian Council for Medical Research — National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) study suggests that there is a need for active human and entomological surveillance of the Zika virus across the country to mitigate future outbreaks.

The first report of the Zika virus spread in Kerala was released by ICMR NIV Pune.

The report stated that the Zika virus cases in Kerala last year had no travel history and were linked to its circulation in the community.

"The cases had no travel history within the last one month. Apparently, none of the family members of the cases had a similar clinical presentation. The cases which were sporadically reported during this period probably suggest circulation of the ZIKV in the community as well."The study also suggests the need for active human and entomological surveillance of Zika in other parts of the country as well.

"The finding of the study suggests the inclusion of arboviral disease in testing algorithms. In conclusion, the findings of the investigation demonstrate the need for active human and entomological surveillance of Zika across the country to mitigate future outbreaks," it saidThese cases of the Zika virus were reported in Kerala during the COVID-19 second surge and added an extra burden on the public health system of the state.

"The circulation and detection of flavivirus and SARS-CoV-2 have been reported in flavivirus endemic areas.7, 8 The recent third serosurvey of COVID-19 by the Indian Council of Medical Research, India demonstrated high seroprevalence in Kerala state (11.6 per cent) compared to the national average of 21.9 per cent. This data demonstrates the effectiveness of robust surveillance adopted by the state. Similarly, the preparedness and active surveillance of the public health system of Kerala state has helped to timely identify the Zika cases among the healthcare workers," the study further said.

Last year India reported Zika virus cases in Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Zika virus (ZIKV) disease (ZVD) is considered to be one of the significant public health diseases of concern post-2016 outbreak in Brazil.

A mosquito-borne flavivirus had been reported to be associated with the increased incidence of microcephaly, congenital Zika syndrome, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Since its discovery from the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947, several outbreaks of ZVD have been reported from Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

Besides this, numerous travel-associated cases of Zika have been also reported from various countries. India has reported the first case of ZVD from Gujarat. (ANI)