On 11 July, the Indian state reported three cases, according to the Hindustan Times. India’s Health Minister said that a 22-month-old child was among those infected. “A 73-year-old woman, who was being treated at a private hospital in the capital, was diagnosed with the virus,” State Health Minister Veena George said.
The Zika virus is transmitted primarily by the Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day, according to the World Health Organization. The Union health ministry has sent a team of experts to the state to help contain the virus.
Testing kits are being distributed
George said the state government has arranged testing facilities at the Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Kozhikode medical colleges and also at the National Institute of Virology unit in Alappuzha. “The Thiruvananthapuram medical college received 500 Triplex kits, which enable the simultaneous detection and differentiation of RNA from dengue virus, chikungunya virus and Zika virus; and 500 Singleplex kits which can detect Zika virus alone,” the Minister said in a press release.
The state government said it has received 2,100 test kits from the National Institute of Virology, Pune. Out of these, 1,000 have been given to the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, 300 each to Thrissur and Kozhikode and 500 to National Institute of Virology in Alappuzha.
The Zika outbreak in Kerala has come at a time when the state is already struggling with a heavy Covid-19 case load. For over a month, the state has been registering between 11,000 and 13,000 Covid-19 cases per day.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, a Zika virus vaccine has shown to have lasting durability for up to a year, according to recent trials.