The Health ministry has ordered to improve security surveillance at all airports after two Zika virus patients were reported in Thailand.
However, till now no screening has been carried out. At Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA), Shamshabad, the ground unit has targeted all the passengers who reported fever, cold or a cough.
A senior member of the unit said, “We take down their details and refer them to a higher center for screening. They arrive in the city and may get in touch with others. There is no screening mechanism set up at the airport.”
The airport unit has one junior doctor, two nurses and an official from the district medical and health office of Hyderabad. The government has been asked by the World Health Organisation(WHO) to strengthen screening at airports because of the huge traffic between South East Asian countries and India.
A senior officer said, “The WHO guidelines state that there must be dedicated medical centers to scan passengers coming in from these regions with viral infections and must be referred to laboratory tests. It also states that people must not be wary of isolation if suspected of a vector-bore infection as it has the chances of spreading. But presently we are merely taking down details and following up later, which is not the right method.”
Dr. Padmaja, District medical and health officer-in-charge of Hyderabad refused to comment on this subject stating that she did not receive any new orders from the state ministry.
According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) scientists, the Zika virus which has no cure or vaccine was found in India in Pune 64 years ago. This report came out as part of a survey done for the immunity test to Japanese and Russian varieties of a virus-borne brain infection called encephalitis.
Zika is a mosquito-borne infection caused by Zika virus, a member of the genus flavivirus and family Flaviviridae. It was first isolated from a monkey in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947.
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BY M. DIVYA SRI