Pune Faces Rising Zika Virus Cases, Including Pregnant Women, Total Rises To 12 

Zika Scare: Pregnant Woman In Pune To Be Screened In Affected Areas

Zika Scare: Pregnant Woman In Pune To Be Screened In Affected Areas

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Pune: The city of Pune is witnessing an alarming rise in Zika virus cases, with the total number reaching 12 as of Monday. This includes a significant number of pregnant women, with six expecting mothers among those infected. The latest case involves a 31-year-old pregnant woman from Yerawada, who tested positive after experiencing symptoms like fever, red rash, and body pain.

According to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Zika virus infection during pregnancy can result in severe birth defects, such as microcephaly, especially if contracted during the first trimester. In light of this, the PMC convened a meeting with private hospitals to ensure prompt reporting of all cases. This allows civic health officials to implement necessary preventive measures swiftly.

The infected woman had visited a private hospital’s outpatient department (OPD) on June 29, where her blood samples were taken and sent to both a private laboratory and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) for confirmation. Both tests confirmed the presence of the Zika virus, with the NIV report arriving late Saturday night. The woman is approximately seven weeks pregnant.

Zika cases have been reported from various areas across Pune, including Erandwane, Mundhwa, Dahanukar Colony, Pashan, Ambegaon, Kharadi, and Yerawada. The first case in this surge was detected in a doctor on June 20.

To combat the spread of the virus, the PMC has been proactive in its approach. Blood samples from 86 pregnant women have been sent to the NIV for testing. “Since the emergence of the infection, we have screened over 10,000 homes, identifying mosquito-breeding sites in 311 of them. Out of 30,000 containers inspected, 437 were found to be breeding mosquitoes. We have issued notices to 129 individuals found harboring mosquito-breeding spots and imposed penalties totaling Rs 1.12 lakh,” stated Dr. Rajesh Dighe, assistant health officer at PMC.

In response to the rise in Zika cases, the PMC has directed private hospitals to ensure that all pregnant women with symptoms are tested for the virus. Additionally, hospitals are advised to check for fetal anomalies through sonography or nuchal translucency tests. Dr. Kalpana Baliwant, deputy director of the PMC health department, emphasized the importance of immediate reporting from private laboratories if a Zika case is confirmed.

Despite the efforts, health authorities remain uncertain about the source of the infection. Recent reports from the NIV did not detect the virus in mosquito samples from affected areas. Entomologists suggest that the Zika-causing mosquitoes may have been eradicated during fogging exercises conducted by civic authorities. Some experts also recommend inspecting the workplaces of patients for potential disease vectors.

The PMC continues its anti-larval and fogging exercises in the affected areas to curb the spread of the virus. The city’s first two confirmed cases this season were a 46-year-old doctor and his 15-year-old daughter from Erandwane, who tested positive for Zika in June. 

As the city grapples with this outbreak, the PMC’s comprehensive response and vigilant monitoring remain crucial in controlling the spread of the Zika virus.