India well prepared against Zika virus: Health ministry

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New Delhi, Jan 29: The union health ministry said on Friday it is making sure that India is well prepared against cases of Zika virus that has already caused much damage in Brazil and elsewhere in the Americas.

"We are closely monitoring the situation of Zika cases and all necessary steps have been initiated to ensure that India is well prepared in case of any eventuality," said Health Minister J P Nadda at a meeting held to take stock of the recent cases of Zika in the world.

ZIKA

The minister directed the authorities to set up a technical group that would monitor the situation arising out of the spread of Zika virus in other countries and suggest steps that would need to be taken in India.

"We are focusing on especially strengthening the surveillance system," said the minister.

The minister called for increased focus on prevention to control the spread of the Aedes mosquito that breeds in clean water and is implicated in the spread of the Zika virus.

"Community awareness plays an instrumental role in this regard. There is a need for greater awareness amongst community," the health minister said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, was "spreading explosively" in the Americas.

There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, which is like dengue and causes mild fever, rash and red eyes.

The effort against the disease focuses on protecting people from mosquitoes and reducing mosquito populations.

IANS

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