October 20, 2021

WHO confirmed India’s first case of Zika virus

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Picture of an Aedes aegypti mosquito, the vector that transmits the Zika virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed India’s first cases of Zika virus after two pregnant women and in an elderly man were found positive.


The World Health Organization(WHO) confirmed in its disease outbreak bulletin released on Friday.

Picture of an Aedes aegypti mosquito, the vector that transmits the Zika virus

On 15 May 2017, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare-Government of India (MoHFW) reported three laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus disease in Bapunagar area, Ahmedabad District, Gujarat, State, India.

The routine laboratory surveillance detected a laboratory-confirmed case of Zika virus disease through RT-PCR test at B.J. Medical College, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The etiology of this case has been further confirmed through a positive RT-PCR test and sequencing at the national reference laboratory, National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune on 4 January 2017 (case 2, below). Two additional cases (case 1 and case 3), have then been identified through the Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) and the Antenatal clinic (ANC) surveillance. The cases are reported below in chronological order:

  • Case 1: During the Acute Febrile Illness (AFI) surveillance between 10 to 16 February 2016, a total of 93 blood samples were collected at BJ Medical College (BJMC), Ahmedabad, Gujarat State. One sample from a 64-year-old male presenting with febrile illness of 8 days’ duration (negative for dengue infection) was found to be positive for Zika virus at BJMC, Ahmedabad. This is the first Zika positive case reported through AFI surveillance at BJMC, Ahmedabad, Gujarat State.
  • Case 2: A 34-year-old female, delivered a clinically well baby at BJMC in Ahmedabad on 9 November 2016. During her hospital stay, she developed a low grade fever after delivery. No history of fever during pregnancy and no history of travel for the past three months was reported. A sample from the patient was referred to the Viral Research & Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) at the BJMC for dengue testing and thereafter found to be positive for Zika virus. She was discharged after one week (on 16 November 2016). The sample was re-confirmed as Zika virus positive by RT-PCR and sequencing at NIV, Pune.
  • Case 3: During the Antenatal clinic (ANC) surveillance between 6 and 12 January 2017, a total of 111 blood samples were collected at BJMC. One sample from a 22-year-old pregnant female in her 37th week of pregnancy has been tested positive for Zika virus disease.

All cases were reported from Bapunagar here and the patients tested positive at the Gujarat government-run BJ Medical College (BJMC). Union minister of state for health Anupriya Patel, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha in March this year, had confirmed one Zika case in Ahmedabad.

Gujarat health commissioner J P Gupta told TOI on Saturday, “We confirm that Zika virus has random presence in Ahmedabad. We cannot say if the virus was brought from outside or was indigenous.”

 Anupriya Patel

He added that the children of both the pregnant women were born without symptoms like microcephaly (abnormal shrinking of head) associated with Zika, which had an outbreak in Brazil in early 2015. In February 2016, the WHO declared the outbreak as “public health emergency of international concern”.

The WHO bulletin said the first case was reported during a disease surveillance activity in Ahmedabad between February 10 and 16 last year.

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