zika virus fear

Zika virus hits India’s tourism hotspot of Jaipur

A Zika outbreak has been reported in India’s popular tourist destination of Jaipur. The virus has been detected in 29 people in Jaipur, capital of the northern state of Rajasthan.

The first case of Zika was reported on 23 September in an 85-year old patient at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur.

Zika virus is the first virus known to be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito and through sex with an infected person.

It is the third such outbreak in India, with the first in the western city of Ahmedabad in January 2017 and the second in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in July 2017. The latest cases – in the middle of the country’s festival season where many Indians travel, increasing the risk of transmission – come amid a spike in other mosquito-borne diseases that kill thousands across India each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Pregnant women, in particular, are being monitored by the National Health Mission, a body set up by the government to improve healthcare across the country. There is currently no vaccine to the virus which can cause severe birth defects in unborn children.

Officials have stepped up efforts to check homes for mosquito breeding places.

The Toronto-based International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers said it was advising pregnant travelers to postpone trips to Jaipur, which is known as the Pink City because of the color of its historic buildings. The city is part of India’s tourist “golden triangle” of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, home to the Taj Mahal.

The Zika virus, first discovered in 1947, reached epidemic proportions in Brazil in 2015, when thousands of babies were born with microcephaly, a brain defect affecting speech and motor function.

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