CHENNAI: The first confirmed case of Zika in Tamil Nadu in recent years has been reported in Krishnagiri district. The state’s health officials confirmed it to Express today.
A 27-year-old youth who tested positive for Zika is now recovered. Details on the person are not available yet.
Official sources said the youth, who has now recovered, had not travelled outside the country recently. The case was confirmed by tests conducted at King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research in Chennai and two other labs located in Pune and Manipal.
A zika outbreak last year across continents from Africa to the Americas to Asia had spread panic far and wide and prompted travel advisories to these regions. In India, experts felt it was just a matter of time before the infections were detected. Earlier this year, in January and February, two cases of Zika were detected in Ahmedabad, before which in November last year a pregnant woman was found to have contracted the infection. The three cases were reported in the public sphere by the health ministry only in the end of May 2017.
In lesser-known history of the zika virus, the latest viral fever doing the rounds is not exactly new to India.
A study done way back in 1952-53 found that one-sixth of the blood samples tested showed immunity to the virus – the clearest indication that the Zika virus had made its way to India and had infected these persons, which helped their bodies develop antibodies to tackle it.
Though those with immunity to Zika were found scattered across all regions, the 1952-53 study said high incidence of those immune to the virus was found in Broach district in then Bombay presidency (now Bharuch in Gujarat) - 7 out of 17 samples, Sorath (old name of Saurashtra) (4/11) and Nagpur district (7/15), Bareja in Ahmedabad district of then Bombay presidency showed highest incidence in a single locality (7/10).
Out of 13 samples tested in Madras, one from Tiruvallur was found to have antibody against Zika, the 1952-53 study said.