Health department officials reported 128 cases of Zika virus in Madhya Pradesh as of Saturday, November 17. The cases are located predominately in Vidisha, Bhopal, and Sehore districts, though six total cases were also reported in Hoshangabad, Raisen, and Sagar. Two people infected with the Zika virus passed away in Bhopal, though health officials did not confirm that the infection was the cause of death. The announcement follows over 100 cases of Zika virus in neighboring Rajasthan.
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) and Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a fatal neurological disorder. 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 with asymptomatic carriers of the infection.
Individuals in Madhya Pradesh - 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 (e.g. stagnant water, including rainwater collected in flower pots, tires, gutters, etc.).
Copyright and Disclaimer