Zika outbreak grips Kanpur as 30 more test positive for deadly virus, tally reaches 66

Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh): Thirty more Zika cases have been reported in Kanpur district, taking the tally to 66.

The 30 new cases have been reported from the tests conducted at the virology lab of the King George’s Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow and National Institute of Virology in Pune.

This is the highest single-day jump in infections since the first case of the virus was reported in the city on October 23.

Of the new cases, three of the infected are women and 27 are men.

Till Wednesday, the number of women, including four girls, was 18 and with three more infected, the number of women patients have now escalated to 21.

Kanpur chief medical officer Dr Nepal Singh said Thursday’s confirmation increases the total cases in the district to 66 which includes 45 males and 21 females.

Dr Singh said the National Institute for Virology Pune has confirmed the fresh cases. The samples were sent for testing three days ago.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that spreads through the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquito named Aedes aegypti.

According to the World Health Organisation, the Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, peaking during early morning and late afternoon or evening.

The states’s first Zika virus case was reported from the Indian Air Force station area in Kanpur on October 23 when a warrant officer tested positive for the infection. Subsequently, three more cases were also discovered from the IAF station area.

The health department marked an area within a two-km radius of the IAF station in an effort to localise the Zika virus. However, new patients were found in the Lal Kurti, Mangla Vihar, Tiwaripur, Ompurwa, Jagaipurwa, Shyam Nagar localities, which are in the cantonment area but border the main Kanpur city.

The 30 cases confirmed on Thursday have been reported from new localities such as Bhavanipur and Koyla Nagar, which are beyond the three-km radius area that the health department marked as areas of special interest.

Kanpur district magistrate Vishal G. Iyer visited both the localities with health department officials. He later said seven teams were on surveillance.

Kanpur, incidentally, has the second-highest number of Zika cases so far, next only to Kerala where a total of 90 patients have been detected.

On Monday, when only 11 cases were reported, the Uttar Pradesh health department had sounded an alert across districts and intensified surveillance under its infectious disease control campaign to identify cases of infection.

Meanwhile, the government spokesman said that steps to check the spread of the disease, a massive vector control campaign has been launched in the city.

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