India's Karnataka reports first case of Zika virus

The country recorded its first confirmed cases of the virus in 2016

Aedes mosquitoes infected at a lab in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bloomberg
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Authorities in India’s southern Karnataka state have issued an alert after a five-year-old girl was found to be infected with Zika virus — the first such case in the coastal state.

The child, a resident of Kolicamp in Raichur district, tested positive on December 8.

Zika is transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes that bite mostly during the day, according to the World Health Organisation.

Symptoms include rash, headaches, fever, conjunctivitis and muscle and joint pain, according to the global health body.

The symptoms usually last for two to seven days and there is no specific treatment or vaccine available for the infection.

Authorities in the state formed a three-member central team that visited the area on Tuesday to take stock of the situation and recommend measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

They are also looking at the travel history of the child.

Zika first identified in Ugandan monkeys

Health Minister K Sudhakar said the government was taking all necessary steps to contain the spread of the virus.

“This is the first case in the state and the government is monitoring the situation very carefully. Our department is well-prepared to handle it,” he said.

Mr Sudhakar said three specimens were sent to a lab in western Pune city on December 5 for Dengue and Chikungunya tests. Of the three, the specimen belonging to the girl tested positive for the Zika virus.

The Zika virus was first identified in monkeys in Uganda in 1947.

The first human case was detected in Nigeria in 1954 and there have been further outbreaks in Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands.

The virus spread rapidly in Brazil in 2015. India reported its first confirmed cases in western Gujarat in 2016.

It has since reported cases of the virus every year, with at least 89 people, including 17 children, testing positive in a district in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, in November last year

The neighbouring state of Kerala detected at least 15 cases of the virus, including in a pregnant woman, in July 2021.

A man, 67, was found to be infected with the virus in Pune in neighbouring Maharashtra state early this month.

Updated: December 14, 2022, 7:16 AM