State government has stepped up surveillance and awareness activities and is working along with local authorities to strengthen efforts in vector control
The Union Health Ministry on October 16 directed the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to monitor Zika cases on a daily basis, while urging the people not to panic.
The move comes at a time when the number of people infected with the Zika virus rose to 80 in Rajasthan in what is being called the country's largest Zika outbreak.
The ministry said it was working along with the state governments, the local authorities and the municipal corporations for augmenting and strengthening their efforts in vector control, surveillance and awareness activities.
Here’s all you need to know about the viral infection:
What is Zika?
Zika is a viral infection caused by the aedes aegypti mosquito, which also transmits dengue and chikungunya and breeds in open, stagnant water. However, infected people can transmit Zika sexually.
The infection was first detected in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys and was detected in humans five years in 1952. Some cases were reported across the world since then.
The first Zika outbreak happened in 2007 in the Pacific island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia.
The largest outbreak of Zika happened in Brazil in 2015. It also led to the revelation of the Zika virus being associated with microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition in which babies are born with small and underdeveloped brains.
What are the symptoms?
Most people infected with the Zika virus can have no symptoms. However, they may feel pain in the back of the eyes, joints or muscles. People infected with the virus could also face fatigue, fever, chills, sweating of loss of appetite. Redness of eyes, headache, skin rash or vomiting are also common.
These symptoms are mild and may last less than a week.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), these symptoms can be treated with common medicines, rest and plenty of water.
However, if the symptoms worsen, people should seek medical advice. Additional symptoms can include the occasional rash and conjunctivitis.
The time between exposure to Zika symptoms is estimated to be 3-14 days.
Precautions are generally the same as those for mosquito-borne tropical diseases such as dengue. Usage of mosquito nets and repellents are advised, besides steps to prevent sexual transmission.
The Rajasthan health department has also advised people in the affected areas to stay indoors.
What’s happening in Rajasthan?
As many as 80 cases of Zika have been reported in Rajasthan so far.
Union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda has said that 330 teams have been deployed in the affected wards of Shastri Nagar, Jaipur.
More than 4.34 lakh people have been brought under surveillance and 86,903 houses have been surveyed. More than 2.04 lakh breeding sites have been checked for larvae breeding and 74,483 sites have been found to have such larvae breeding, according to the government.
Blood banks have also been asked to conduct Zika screening for donors.
Earlier cases in India
In India, the first outbreak of Zika was reported in Ahmedabad in January 2017 and the second in Tamil Nadu's Krishnagiri district in July that year.
Both these outbreaks were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management.(With inputs from PTI)