Zika Virus Detected In Pune: Asian Strain Confirmed

Pune News: Zika Virus Detected in Pregnant Woman in Erandwane | 5th case 

Pune News: Zika Virus Detected in Pregnant Woman in Erandwane | 5th case 

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Scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) have identified the Zika virus in patients in Pune, confirming it belongs to the Asian strain. The discovery came through genetic sequencing of the virus from a resident of Erandawane, who tested positive during a routine outbreak investigation on June 22. Dr. Gajanan Sapkal, senior scientist at ICMR-NIV, explained that genome sequencing revealed the virus’s relation to the Asian lineage. He emphasized that the African strain of Zika rarely causes human infections outside Africa.

The recent cases in Maharashtra highlight the importance of tracking genetic changes in the virus. Four cases have been reported in the state over the past two months. The first case this year was detected in May in a man from Satara, with subsequent cases from Pune and Ahmednagar in June.

Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue and chikungunya—common during Maharashtra’s monsoon and post-monsoon seasons.

It is important to stress on the significance of understanding the immune response to Zika and its cross-reactivity with other flaviviruses like dengue. This research is crucial for vaccine development and assessing disease severity.

Monitoring genetic changes in the virus helps anticipate outbreaks and identify potential drug-resistant or more virulent strains.

Therefore, ongoing research and surveillance are vital to managing Zika virus outbreaks effectively in Maharashtra, particularly during periods conducive to mosquito-borne diseases.