U.S. modifies Zika advisory

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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