Tackling Zika threat : Pune asks BJMC, Miraj college to ready protocol


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Tackling Zika threat : Pune asks BJMC, Miraj college to ready protocol

STORY MOOD : TECHNOLOGY AND HEALTH Mood




The state health department on Thursday directed experts from the city’s B J Medical College and government medical college at Miraj to prepare a standard treatment protocol against the potential threat of Zika virus. Diagnostic testing will be available at city-based National Institute of Virology (NIV).

The Zika virus, transmitted by Aedes mosquito - which also transmits dengue - has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization, and has spread to over 25 countries.

A high-level review meeting was held on Thursday in Mumbai to assess the state’s preparedness to tackle the disease, intensify vector control measures and strengthen surveillance of fever cases, Dr Kanchan Jagtap, Joint Director of Health, told The Indian Express.

While the illness caused by the virus is reported to generally be a mild fever, the WHO guidelines state that microcephaly - a condition where an infant’s head is smaller than the heads of other children of the same age- has been temporally associated with the infection. The Union health ministry has also issued guidelines on the need to be extra vigilant as dengue is now endemic in the country and the transmission can also pick up due to conductive weather conditions.

“Presently, there is no specific treatment for Zika. However, Dr D B Kadam, Head of the Department of Medicine, B J Medical College, and I will review medical literature and prepare an information fact sheet on when to suspect the likelihood of Zika virus, how to categorise the severity of the illness and other related aspects. We will submit the guidelines to the public health department in a few days,” Dr Aarti Kinikar, Head of the Department of Paediatrics, Government Medical College, Miraj, said.

H1N1 vaccine: WHO hails state

World Health Organization (WHO) has asked Maharashtra to provide details on how the state was able to achieve a vaccination drive that covered as many as 38,000 people against H1N1 virus (swine flu). Dr Subhash Salunke, who chairs the state expert committee on strategies to be adopted for preventing communicable diseases, told The Indian Express that the WHO was preparing its own module for H1N1 vaccination.



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