Fresh mosquito samples have been collected from various parts of Jaipur by a team from the National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR) as the number of Zika patients in the Rajasthan capital rose to 51.
Of the total 50 patients who have tested positive for the Zika virus, 11 are pregnant women, sources at the Union Health Ministry said, adding that after Shastri Nagar area, three students residing at Rajput hostel in neighbouring Sindhi Camp have tested positive.
The Zika virus has already been found in some mosquitoes taken as samples from Sindhi Camp while few mosquitoes collected from densely populated Shastri Nagar had already been found to be carriers of the virus leading to suspicion they are behind the spread of the infection.
The first case had surfaced on September 22 when an 85-year-old woman with no travel history tested positive for the disease.
Fogging and other anti-larvae activities are being carried out in the Shastri Nagar area to prevent the spread of the virus. Earlier, a health department official had said 30 of the total cases were doing fine after treatment.
At a review meeting held on Friday, measures taken to contain the situation were discussed. The department has also issued an advisory for pregnant women staying outside Shastri Nagar not to visit the area.
A control room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control to monitor the situation.
The number of monitoring teams in Jaipur has been increased from 50 to 170 and a special isolation ward created at the Hira Bagh Training Centre to treat Zika virus-affected patients.
The Rajasthan government has been provided information, education and communication (IEC) material prepared to create awareness about the Zika virus and prevention strategies.
The virus, transmitted through the aedes aegypti mosquito, causes fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain. It is harmful to pregnant women, as it can lead to microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head is significantly smaller than expected, in newborn children.
In India, the first outbreak 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, the ministry had said earlier.
The disease continues to be under surveillance of the Union Health Ministry although it is no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern under WHO notification since November 18, 2016.