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Three more Zika cases reported in Kerala

One-year-old among those infected; 18 confirmed cases so far; testing facilities set up at 4 medical college hosps

Published: 12th July 2021 05:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th July 2021 11:57 AM   |  A+A-

Zika Virus

For representational purposes (Photo | AP)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The presence of Zika virus was confirmed in three more persons including a one-year-old child in the district on Sunday. A 46-year-old man who sought treatment at a private hospital and a 29-year-old nurse from the same hospital are the others who were diagnosed. Their samples were confirmed at a lab in Coimbatore. So far, 18 cases of Zika virus have been reported from the district, the first being that of a pregnant woman who was diagnosed on Thursday. This was followed by 13 more cases among healthcare workers in a private hospital the next day. 

READ HERE | Zika virus explained: How is it spread & why pregnant women should take extra caution?

Following the first incident, the health department collected 17 samples and all of them turned negative. From the 27 samples of the second batch, one of them turned positive on Saturday. The latest three that turned positive are from the eight samples sent as the third batch.

Meanwhile, the health department has set up Zika testing facilities at medical college hospitals (MCH) in Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Thrissur and Kozhikode, after procuring 2,100 testing kits from the National Institute of Virology, Pune. The Thiruvananthapuram MCH received 500 triplex kits that can detect dengue, chikungunya, and Zika virus, besides 500 singleplex kits that can be used only for detecting Zika virus. Alappuzha NIV received 500 singleplex kits and Thrissur and Kozhikode MCHs received 300 singleplex kits each. 

Health Minister Veena George said Zika testing will be expanded to more government labs when more test kits become available. The Public Health Lab will soon have the facility, she said. There are 27 government labs with RT-PCR testing facilities in the state.The department has drawn up an action plan to fight the mosquito-borne disease with a special focus on pregnant women, as the disease is considered to have severe impact on pregnant women especially during the first four months into the term. “Hospitals have been directed to conduct Zika tests on people with symptoms such as fever, rashes and body pain,” said the minister.

Zika is detected using blood and urine samples through the RT-PCR test. NIV Pune has recommended the use of blood samples. Five milliliters of blood of a suspected Zika-infected person will be collected and the serum will be separated from it for conducting the test. Up to eight hours will be required to get the results. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is performed to detect genetic material from a specific organism, in this case the Zika virus. If the PCR test is to determine Covid, nasal swabs are used.



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