According to health officials in India, at least 89 people in the city of Kanpur have tested positive for the Zika virus.
Since the emergence of the delta variant, India has struggled to control the number of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations. Moreover, the country has had to deal with multiple outbreaks amid the pandemic. Now, health officials in India are facing another deadly outbreak; this time of the Zika virus.
First identified in Uganda in 1947, the zika virus has since then infected humans across the world. Outbreaks of the disease have been occurring since 2007. However, the disease first reached epidemic proportions in Brazil in 2015.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito mainly transmits the virus to humans; it also transmits dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya. However, the virus can also transmit sexually. The majority of people remain asymptomatic or develop a mild infection. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, skin rash, red eyes, and joint pain. The infection can be extremely concerning in pregnant people.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus can transmit from mother to fetus during pregnancy, through sexual contact, transfusion of blood and blood products, and organ transplantation. The infection can then result in microcephaly in newborns, preterm birth, fetal loss, and stillbirth. Moreover, the disease can also trigger Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults and children.
Almost 100 Cases, Including Children
While talking to Reuters, Kanpur’s chief medical officer, Dr Nepal Singh, revealed the current Zika virus outbreak in the city. So far, almost 100 people have become infected, including 17 children. Moreover, a pregnant woman is also infected and is currently under close supervision.
Kanpur reported its first case of the Zika virus on 23rd October. Since then, there has been a surge in cases. Experts are worried about a Zika epidemic, similar to the one that occurred in Brazil in 2015. Therefore, health authorities are now increasing their surveillance and working to eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitoes.