Aedes mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya also transmit Zika
The detection of at least 18 cases of Zika virus in Kerala until Sunday evening has put other States on alert. In Telangana, although a general alert has not yet been issued, officials said precautionary measures being taken to prevent vector-borne diseases such as dengue and malaria would also help avoid Zika cases too.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), symptoms of Zika virus infection are generally mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, headache and muscle and joint pain. “Symptoms typically last for two to seven days. Most people do not develop symptoms. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome,” states WHO.
Health officials here initiated a slew of precautionary measures before the onset of monsoon to keep vector-borne diseases at bay. They were tasked to identify high-risk areas where the disease incidence was higher last year.
A few of the preventive measures include release of Gambusia fish in stagnant water bodies, indoor residual spray, urging people to ensure water does not stagnate in empty or broken vessels, in tyres, coconut shells, empty shampoo bottles or other containers lying around homes.
Apart from Zika virus, dengue and chikungunya are spread by infected Aedes mosquitoes. This species breeds in stagnant fresh water. Since it is rainy season, rain water can accumulate in small or big empty containers lying around homes. Besides, many people forget or skip cleaning the water from coolers after summers, but this could turn into a potential breeding ground for the mosquitoes.
“We have started to take preventive steps from the past few weeks which helps in prevention of Aedes breeding too,” said additional director at National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (Telangana), G. Amar Singh Naik.
Chief entomologist at Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, A. Rambabu said they have started ‘Sunday 10 a.m. 10 Minutes’ programme through which people are encouraged to clear stagnant water in and around their homes.