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Health dept gears up to deal with zika virus infection

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Jamshedpur, Feb. 8: Evan as the threat of zika virus infection looms large; the state health department has started collecting details about the number of water bodies in district.

The water bodies could become breeding grounds for mosquitoes responsible for spreading diseases like malaria and dengue. Aedes aegypti mosquito is not only responsible for dengue, but is also a carrier of zika virus.

The district health department has formed a rapid response team to deal with the issues related with zika virus. The National Centre for Disease Control, which functions under the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare, has issued a circular asking the health department authorities to be alert about the virus, which spreads through mosquitoes of Aedes aegypti species. Such mosquitoes are active during daytime.

District civil surgeon Dr. S. K. Jha said that they have alerted all hospitals, primary health centers and other healthcare units.

The members of the rapid response team comprising trained health department staff would spread awareness among people about preventing the disease. They would also collect samples from suspected patients.

According to Dr. Jha, although there has been no case of zika virus in India reported so far. He said that the virus spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes also carry dengue and chikungunya viruses. ďWe have decided to take steps to prevent breeding of such mosquitoes.

Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries zika virus breeds in fresh water. We will also issue an appeal asking people not to let water collect in bird baths, planters, non-used bottles, containers, discarded waste, tyres etc. Unclean air coolers at homes, clogged drains and fodder buckets in mushrooming cattle sheds also promote breeding of such mosquitoes,” explained the civil surgeon.

“We are collecting all the information from malaria inspectors, sanitary inspectors, pathologists and microbiologists. Details of fish hatcheries and water bodies have also been sought from the district,” noted another official.

The officials said that this information will also help them during and after rainy season when mosquito-borne diseases become common Ė generally from July to October.

The department also sought information about the total number of hospitals from the districts and the available healthcare facilities. The health department will launch a campaign against Aedes aegypti mosquito in the state.

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