Baby among 3 new patients with Zika virus in Kerala, total cases now 18

Three medical colleges and NIV Alappuzha have been equipped with 2,100 kits to test Zika virus in Kerala.
Zika virus rep image
Zika virus rep image
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A baby, aged one year and 10 months, is among the three new patients who have been infected with the Zika virus in Kerala. The other two patients are a 46-year-old man who sought treatment at a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram and a 29-year-old female employee of the same hospital. With the three new cases, there are now a total of 18 people infected with the virus in Kerala, said the office of Health Minister Veena George.

The samples were sent to a lab in Coimbatore from the private hospital, where the 46-year-old man and the baby sought treatment. It's the same hospital where earlier cases of Zika virus were detected.

Kerala had sent 27 samples in the second round of testing, out of which 26 turned out to be negative for the Zika virus. The three samples that now tested positive are from the eight samples sent in the third round.

State equipped to test for Zika

Kerala is now getting ready to test the virus with 2,100 kits from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune made available in three medical colleges, said Veena George. In the first phase, Zika virus tests will be done by the medical colleges in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Kozhikode, and in the NIV unit in Alappuzha.

Currently, there are 1,000 kits in Thiruvananthapuram, 300 each in Thrissur and Kozhikode, and 500 in Alappuzha NIV. More labs will be equipped with test kits soon, assured Minister Veena.

The presence of the virus is confirmed through an RT-PCR test of urine and blood samples. Five millilitres of blood is collected from a person and the serum is separated from the blood for the test.

Minister Veena said that people, especially pregnant women, who come to hospitals with symptoms such as fever, red spots and body pain, will be asked to test for the Zika virus.

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