The US government’s Centre for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) has modified its advisory against travelling to India. In
2018, CDC had issued the advisory after zika cases were reported in Rajasthan
and Madhya Pradesh.
The travel advisory stated that India has an
ongoing outbreak of the disease in Rajasthan and its surrounding states. It
also cautioned pregnant women and women who are planning for pregnancy not to
travel to areas with ongoing zika outbreaks.
The status of India in the Zika virus alert for
travellers has been changed from “ongoing outbreak” to “current or past
transmission but no current outbreak”. The modification comes after Union
Health Ministry, in January, had urged the US government to change or modify
the travel advisory.
Zika virus disease is caused by a virus
transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes. Additionally, infected people can
transmit Zika through transfer of body fluids including sexual intercourse.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause
of microcephaly (a condition in which babies are born with small and
underdeveloped brains) and other congenital abnormalities in the developing
fetus and new-borns.
Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in
1947 in monkeys. It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the
United Republic of Tanzania.
The first confirmed Indian case of Zika occurred
in 2016 in Gujarat. The Zika strain was found to be close to a Malaysian Zika
strain, isolated in 1966. In 2018, there had been Zika outbreaks in Rajasthan
and Madhya Pradesh