Health department officials reported 12 additional cases of Zika virus in Rajasthan on Monday, October 15, bringing the total for the recent outbreak to 72. Most cases have been concentrated in the Shastri Nagar area of Jaipur. Anti-mosquito controls are being deployed and health officials have surveyed 96,000 households for signs of infection and issuing fines to owners of property with mosquito larvae present. Of those infected, 60 have responded well to treatment.
The current outbreak, which began ion September 23, is the third in India since January 2017.
Zika is typically benign, though there are established links between the virus and microcephaly (a birth defect where infants are born with abnormally small heads), along with the fatal neurological disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome. The virus is asymptomatic in 80 percent of cases, though symptoms may include fever, headache, rash, vomiting, and muscle and joint pain. The disease is transmitted via mosquito bites and sexual contact, including from asymptomatic people.
Individuals in Rajasthan - in particular pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, and their partners - are advised to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites (e.g. wearing covering clothing, using insect repellent, sleeping in screened-in rooms), and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds (stagnant water, including rainwater collected in flower pots, tires, gutters, etc.).