Maulana Azad Medical College director-professor, Dr Naresh Gupta (Photo/ANI)
Maulana Azad Medical College director-professor, Dr Naresh Gupta (Photo/ANI)

Zika virus not a pandemic but of grave concern, says top expert

ANI | Updated: Jul 15, 2021 19:27 IST

By Shalini Bhardwaj
New Delhi [India], July 15 (ANI): As per recent data provided by the Kerala Health Department, the total number of Zika virus cases reported in Kerala is 28. According to top experts, this is a virus of 'grave concern'.
While speaking to ANI, Dr Naresh Gupta, director-professor of Delhi's Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) said, "Zika virus isn't a pandemic but Zika virus is of grave concern as compared to Coronavirus. Coronavirus is spread across individuals in huge numbers but with a mortality rate of 0.2 percent. Most of them tend to settle down and the recovery rate in our own country is also close to 98 percent, despite all these big numbers."
"Zika is a virus of grave concern. Zika virus is something that is occurring in local outbreaks. So, I think if it's occurring in a given state or place, sentinel surveillance must have picked up these cases," he said.

Dr Naresh also warned, "Whenever there is an outbreak, they are usually in big numbers. It isn't a pandemic. However, one must not underestimate such figures. Even in the case of the Coronavirus, there are three thousand varieties that occur in the bats. So, if you look at other viruses, there are thousands of viruses. Most of these viruses will keep coming and going whenever we have fear."
Further, he explained, "This is a known virus. Maybe there is an unknown variant of this virus. We need sentinel surveillance, which means if you know that you have a disease coming up about which we were/are aware of some of the symptoms, that's where detailed lab analysis becomes very important. Then you can identify the different viruses. I am sure that, once they have done the surveillances and picked up these cases with wider testing, they would be able to control it."
The first case of the Zika virus was reported in Kerala on July 9. A high alert has been flagged in all districts regarding the mosquito-borne virus.
Talking about the Kanwar Yatra, Dr Naresh Gupta said, "Congregations and gatherings are not advisable when there is a pandemic going on. We have pockets where it keeps breaking out. There is always an increased risk that outbreaks can occur."
The Kanwar Yatra, in which Shiva devotees from northern states travel on foot or by other means to collect water from River Ganga at Haridwar, Uttarakhand, to offer at Shiva temples in their areas, is set to begin from July 25. The matter will come up for hearing tomorrow before the Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman. (ANI)