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14 cases of Zika virus detected in India’s Kerala

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Local health ministry officials in the Southern Indian state of Kerala on Friday said 14 cases of Zika virus had been detected in the state.

Following the detection of cases, authorities have sounded an alert in the state.

All the 14 cases have been reported from Thiruvananthapuram, the state’s capital.

“Zika virus disease is reported from Kerala for the first time and the first case was that of a pregnant woman who is 24 years old.

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“The mother delivered a baby and both the mother and baby are keeping good,’’ Veena George, Kerala health minister said.

“Thirteen more cases turned positive out of the 19 samples sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.”

Meanwhile, all the 13 cases were reported among healthcare workers in Thiruvananthapuram.

However, the health department officials said they were closely monitoring the situation and have intensified measures to contain the spread of the disease.

“We have intensified the vector control activities and given a message to district medical officers and collectors,’’ George said.

“We have also prepared the action plan to manage the infection.’’

Zika virus is mostly spread by mosquitoes. It can also be sexually transmitted.

The mosquito-borne virus has been linked to shrunken brains in children and a rare auto-immune disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome.

India reported a Zika outbreak in the western state of Gujarat in 2016 to 2017.

The outbreak was been reported at a time when the state is battling the ongoing second wave of COVID-19.

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