Hyderabad: The Zika virus has spread to most Indian states, including Telangana, according to a study carried out by the ICMR and NIV, Pune.
Zika is a vector-borne disease spread by mosquitoes. Its symptoms include fever, headache, rashes, and joint and muscle pain. Last year, 66 cases were reported in an outbreak of the virus in Kerala.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, states in its conclusion: “Our study indicates the spread of the Zika virus to several states of India and an urgent need to strengthen its surveillance.”
Of 1,475 samples tested as part of the study, 64, which included a sample from Osmania Medical College, tested positive for Zika virus.
“The retrospective surveillance for ZIKV (Zika virus) undertaken by us demonstrates the silent spread of this virus to almost all parts of India,” the study states.
The study found the presence of the virus in Delhi, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Punjab, Telangana, Kerala, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
Dr B.R. Shamanna, epidemiologist and professor, School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad, said the findings showed that scientists were now beginning to recognise the Zika virus. “Earlier, we did not know what Zika was, it’s a recent phenomenon. In our discipline, we have a saying — ‘if you look for something you will find it’.”