28 Zika cases, alert sounded in Kerala

With five more infections reported on Thursday, the number of confirmed Zika virus cases in Kerala has now risen to 28 — all the cases have been reported from Thiruvananthapuram. Health department sources said vector control measures have been strengthened across the state and steps have been initiated to find the source of the infection. At hospitals, fever cases will be subjected to a Zika virus test.

Health Minister Veena George said an alert has been sounded across Kerala. She said the virus spreads through the bite of the Aedes mosquito and preventive steps will be boosted in districts such as Thiruvananthapuram which reported many incidents of dengue in the last few years. The spurt in the number of dengue and chikungunya cases has also triggered concern as the same mosquito spreads these viral infections. A cluster of Zika virus has been identified within a three-kilometer radius of Anayara in Thiruvananthapuram. At a special review meeting convened on Wednesday, the health minister said the state government was taking steps for the extermination of mosquitoes such as fogging in the area to prevent its spread to other places.

A control room has been set up at the district medical office in the wake of the Zika virus outbreak in Thiruvananthapuram, she said. Besides fogging, emphasis will be placed on the destruction of the source of mosquitoes, George said. Breeding of mosquitoes should not be allowed in the vicinity of houses and institutions, she cautioned.