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Goa is under scanner for deadly disease ZIKA claims health department

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According to the WHO (World Health Organization), ZIKA is the deadly virus which is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. These are the same Mosquitoes that spread dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. It starts with the mild fever and it is fatal to the unborn babies which are still in their mother’s womb.

ZIKA virus started spreading from the South America. The traces of this virus have been first observed in Colombia and Brazil. According to the reports, it’s started spreading from 2014 claiming more than 4000 babies had got affected with this virus. The report that was published in Goa Prism on 31st January 2016 has claimed that this virus may also hit Goa.

[su_expand more_text=”READ MORE” less_text=” ” height=”0″ hide_less=”yes” link_style=”button” link_align=”center”] Taking the cognizance of the media reports published in various news media, Directorate of Health Services had decided to start scanning the state to make sure that ZIKA has not yet entered the Goa. The perception of spreading of ZIKA in the state is of a major concern due to its possible effect on the rare neurological birth defects.

According to the state epidemiologist Dr. Utkarsh Betodkar, the guidelines have already been sent to all the government and private health institutions. This program has been implemented on the platform of national vector-borne disease control platform. “There is no need for setting up the separate unit for this as the existing infrastructure is already in the place to monitor ZIKA virus cases. We are using the same infrastructure and surveillance to keep the check on the suspected cases that are reported,” said Betodkar.

The lone airport of Goa at Dabolim has also brought under the scanner of surveillance to trace out any suspected positive ZIKA virus cases. All the health departments in the state have also been asked to report any suspected cases immediately to the department. “All the travelers coming to Goa with the travel history of South America are handed over to advisories to take care of any suspected symptoms of ZIKA,” said Betodkar.

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He clarified that there is no ban on the international travel but it is suggested that the pregnant women and the women in childbearing age group should defer their travel plans to ZIKA affected countries.  He also advised the people with co-morbid conditions – heart disease, renal problem, diabetes or suffering from any other major disease – preferably put off their travel plan if any, to South America. Persons with the co-morbid condition, he said have the greater risk of contracting an infection.

In case your travel plans cannot be changed due to various reasons, he or she should consult the doctors before their travel so that necessary precautions can be taken during their stay in the ZIKA affected countries. Most importantly, avoid being bitten by the aedes aegypti mosquito, which a day biter, he said.

In our previous article, we had given the reference of Dr. Nandakumar Kamat  who has apparently done a thorough study on this subject had alerted the Goa Government much earlier on this issue. According to him, Prevention and control rely on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people. This can be done by using insect repellent; wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows; and sleeping under mosquito nets. It is also important to empty, clean or cover containers that can hold water such as buckets, flower pots or tyres so that places, where mosquitoes can breed, are removed. Special attention and help should be given to those who may not be able to protect themselves adequately, such as young children, the sick or elderly

Let us follow the guidelines set by the health department in the interest of public. Keep watch on the suspected cases and report the same to the nearest health department. If possible, avoid the overseas trips for some time till there is antidote made available against the virus. Try to keep the surroundings clean and avoid the mosquito bites. Those who are aware of this situation may please help others. In case you have any more information on this serious subject please do mention it in your comments and suggestions.

Sources: Various Sources  [/su_expand]

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