Thiruvananthapuram: It is likely that there have been mild cases of the Zika virus in Kerala since April this year, say doctors in Thiruvananthapuram, as patients were not getting tested due to rising COVID-19 cases and lockdown restrictions at that time.
Many people reported common Zika symptoms like fever, rashes and red eyes, Dr Rajalakshmi, Senior consultant at the KIMSHEALTH hospital told ANI.
"We had been getting patients complaining of rashes and fever since April. I would say that it peaked around May, right after the monsoon season. But since the coronavirus was also peaking at the time, we were conducting teleconsultations and they did not come to the OPD," Dr Rajalakshmi said.
She added, "We sent a few samples to test for dengue, chikungunya and measles but all tested negative. I presume many people had mild cases and did not come to the hospital."
"The government has made the test available for the last two days. We are sending them samples. We will only know which pockets in the state have greater prevalence when a serosurvey is done," she said.
The first case of the mosquito-borne viral infection in the state was confirmed on July 8 in a 24-year-old pregnant woman.
According to Dr Niyas, who diagnosed the first patients, Zika virus management and treatment is simple and easy. In pregnant women, however, it can cause malformation in the foetus.
"Samples of any person showing Zika Virus symptoms are being sent for testing, not just pregnant women," Niyas said.
The state's case tally currently stands at 28, health minister Veena George informed on Thursday, including five new cases.
As part of efforts to reduce the spread of the mosquito-borne disease, the Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation and district administrations have intensified preventive activities, including fogging and for the next 7 days and the setting up of a control room.