FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Zika cases in India: A shocking cover-up
Updated:May 29, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
The surveillance system put in place by the Health Ministry succeeded in identifying three adults infected with the Zika virus between November 2016 and February 2017 in Gujarat. But the Ministry acted less than responsibly by withholding the information from everyone. Even the World Health Organisation was informed about the three cases as recently as May 15, more than five months after the first case was laboratory-confirmed. Information regarding the cases came to light when the WHO posted the information on its website on May 26. By not disclosing the information in real time, India behaved as China did in the case of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003. China was then widely criticised by the global community for trying to cover up the outbreak — by doing so, the Chinese government was arguably partly responsible for SARS spreading to other countries. That none of the three Zika-infected adults or their spouses or relatives had travelled to any country with Zika virus transmission indicates that the virus was transmitted within India. Based on the local circulation of the virus, the WHO has warned that “new cases may occur in the future”, particularly as the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the virus is widely found in India.
 
 
Over 34,000 human samples and nearly 13,000 mosquito samples were tested for the presence of the Zika virus, and there was monitoring for cases of microcephaly, a birth defect that has been connected to the mother being Zika-infected while pregnant. But it is not clear whether the person who brought the infection into the country (the index case) has been identified. While the bite of an infected A. aegypti is the main route of Zika virus transmission, it can also be sexually transmitted from an infected man. As the virus remains present in the semen for a long time, the WHO recommends that couples abstain from sex for at least six months after the onset of symptoms. Secrecy about Zika outbreaks, even if seen only in isolated cases, can lead to a public health disaster. Given that local transmission is already present, the A. aegypti is commonly found, and many infected people exhibit no or only mild, non-specific symptoms, up-to-date health bulletins and advisories are vital. India has the responsibility to keep the WHO and the global community informed, especially in the case of dreaded infectious diseases, for both global risk assessment and risk preparedness. The government machinery should have been on overdrive to educate and increase awareness about ways to avoid infection; the decision to keep the information under wraps to avoid creating “panic” is totally unconvincing.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image A career diplomat, Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, is the first woman to be the island nation’s envoy to India. As Foreign Secretary, she was Sri Lanka’s top diplomat for 18 months before being posted to New Delhi.
 
read-more
Israel has announced the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Jewish state since New Delhi established diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv in 1992. The visit will take place July 4-6. 
 
read-more
These are depressing times. For quite some time I have been watching with utter dismay the Secular India which Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Husain Ahmed Madani, Abdul Ghaffar Khan and others fought for being systematically undermined by ultra-Hindu nationalists. The obsession with Mother Cow has
 
read-more
With weird concoction like "Beer Yoga" getting popular as the next big international fitness craze, the ancient art of inner blossoming is seemingly going topsy-turvy. And as yoga hogs the limelight on its third International Day, the loud call for saving the spirit of the ancient and modern practice can't be swept under
 
read-more
“We cannot allow the state brutality to which we are subjected each day snatch our humanity and values,” the Mirwaiz said, asking: “What will be the difference between them and us then?”
 
read-more
The standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim section of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two countries has led to a suspension of the Kailash Mansarovar yatra via the new Nathu La route.
 
read-more
The city of Marawi in the south of the Philippines has been engulfed by a deadly, ongoing siege since late May, when government forces began to take on heavily armed militants linked to the Islamic State. Local media estimate the death toll to be above 300. Over 200,000 residents have fled what has effectively become an urban battlefie
 
read-more
The Iraqi city of Mosul this week celebrates its first Eid free of the oppressive rule of the self-styled Islamic State (IS) in three years.
 
read-more
President Donald J. Trump hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India at the White House on June 26 for an official visit to Washington, D.C.
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Reporting Pakistan; Author: Meena Menon; Publisher: Viking/Penguin Random House; Pages: 340; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  A former Indian civil servant, who is currently a professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Duke University, US spent long periods in distant villages and city slums of India. The result? A scholarly book that presen...

 
Column-image

  Title: The Exile; Author:  Cathy Scott-Clark & Adrian Levy; Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; Pages: 640; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Jim Corbett was a British-Indian hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author and naturalist; who started off as an officer in the British army and attained the rank of a colonel. Frequently called in to kill man-eating tigers or leopards,...

 
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive