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Indian Govt issues guidelines on Zika virus
Subsequent to World Health Organization declaring Zika virus to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 1st February, 2016, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued guidelines on the virus.
An official release in this regard stated, "Zika virus has the potential for further international spread given the wide geographical distribution of the mosquito vector, a lack of immunity among population in newly affected areas and the high volume of international travel. As of now, the disease has not been reported in India. However, the mosquito that transmits Zika virus, namely Aedes aegypti , that also transmits dengue virus, is widely prevalent in India."

Since Zika virus disease is an emerging viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Though the guidelines are related to general public as well as for organizations working in the health sector, but most important ones are for the air and sea travelers.

The guidelines for the International Airports and Sea Ports are as follows:

  • All the International Airports / Ports will display billboards/ signage providing information to travelers on Zika virus and to report to Custom authorities if they are returning from affected countries and suffering from febrile illness.

  • The Airport / Port Health Organization (APHO / PHO) would have quarantine / isolation facility in identified Airports.

  • Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Civil Aviation will be asked to instruct all international airlines to follow the recommended aircraft disinsection guidelines.

  • The APHOs shall circulate guidelines for aircraft disinsection (as per International Health Regulations) to all the international airlines and monitor appropriate vector control measures with the assistance from NVBDCP in airport premises and in the defined perimeter.

It has been decided by the Union government that the National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi, the Focal Point for International Health Regulations (IHR), would seek/ share information with the IHR focal points of the affected countries and be in constant touch with World Health Organization for updates on the evolving epidemic.

Furthermore, the situation would be monitored by the Joint Monitoring group under Director General of Health Services on regular basis. The guidelines will be updated from time to time as the emerging situation demands.

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