India gears up to fight Zika, Health Ministry to operationalize 10 centers by Feb end

New Delhi: In an attempt to counter a potential Zika virus outbreak in the country, the Union Health Ministry at a high-level meeting on Monday announced that it would operationalize 10 additional diagnostic facilities by the end of this month.

At present, only National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi and National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune have the facility to test any suspected Zika virus case in the country.

The decision was taken by a meeting chaired by Union Health Minister BP Sharma and was attended by senior officials from the ministry, NCDC, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Airports Authority of India (AAI), Directorate General of Civil Aviation, ministry of home affairs, ministry of shipping and ministry of civil aviation.

Also present at the meeting were representatives from state governments of Puducherry, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu and World Health Organization (WHO) India representative Dr Henk Bekedam.

Zika virus has affected 25 countries so far and has been designated as a “global health emergency” by the WHO.

Earlier this month, the health ministry had also issued guidelines to prevent any potential outbreak in the country.

News24 Bureau