The number of Zika virus infections in Kerala rose to 19 with a 73-year old woman testing positive on July 12, Monday. The woman has been undergoing treatment at a private hospital. The virus was detected in a sample sent to a laboratory in Coimbatore by the hospital, Health Minister Veena George said. At the same time, five samples sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) unit at Alappuzha tested negative for the virus, the minister said in a release. On July 11, Sunday, three people, including a toddler, were found infected with Zika, following which the government arranged 2,100 test kits for testing facilities at four medical colleges in the state.
Kerala reported its first case of the Zika virus on July 8, Thursday when a 24-year old pregnant woman was diagnosed with the disease. The testing facilities have been arranged at Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, and Kozhikode Medical colleges and at NIV, Alappuzha. The Minister on Sunday had said that hospitals had been instructed to test patients, especially pregnant women, with fever, rashes, and body pain. On Friday, July 9, a statewide alert was issued in all 14 districts following the detection of Zika virus infections.
Zika is a mosquito-borne flavivirus, which is transmitted through Aedes mosquitoes that are usually seen early in the morning or late in the evening. It is the same mosquitoes that are also responsible for the transmission of chikungunya, dengue, and yellow fever. It will take three to 14 days to show symptoms once a person contracts the virus, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Union Health Ministry on July 9 Friday said that a six-member central team of experts had been dispatched to the state to monitor the situation as well as to support the state government in the management of cases.