The Indian health department has announced that no fewer than 89 people, 17 children inclusive, have tested positive for the Zika virus in a surge of cases in the Indian city of Kanpur, recorded today.
The virus which was first discovered in 1947, reached epidemic proportions in Brazil in 2015, when thousands of babies were born with microcephaly, a disorder that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.
The chief medical officer of Kampur district at India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, Dr Nepal Singh said that, “There has been a surge in cases of the Zika virus and the health department has formed several teams to contain the spread”.
He further mentioned that there is a pregnant woman who has also tested positive for the virus and efforts are being made to treat her.
Several cases of the virus have been reported in different Indian states in recent years, however, Amit Mohan Prasad, Uttar Pradesh’s top government bureaucrat for health and family welfare maintains this is the first outbreak in the state.
This comes after the first case of the virus in the industrial city of Kanpur was detected on the 23rd of October, 2021 and subsequently, the number of cases has increased over the past week.
Uttar Pradesh’s top government bureaucrat for health, Amit Prasad has said that the increase in number of people testing positive is due to aggressive contact tracing. He said, “People are testing positive because we are doing very aggressive contact tracing”.
According to the Chief Medical officer, government authorities have increased their surveillance of the outbreak and are channelling efforts towards the elimination of breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that transmit the virus.