Zika virus: US agency advises pregnant women not to travel to Rajasthan, likely to affect tourism in state

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States has issued a warning to pregnant women against travelling to Rajasthan and surrounding states due to an outbreak of the Zika virus.

FP Staff December 20, 2018 15:58:03 IST
Zika virus: US agency advises pregnant women not to travel to Rajasthan, likely to affect tourism in state

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States has issued a warning to pregnant women against travelling to Rajasthan and surrounding states due to an outbreak of the Zika virus.

According to The World Health Organisation (WHO), as of 2 November 2018, 157 cases have been identified in India, including 63 pregnant women.  Before this outbreak, India reported four confirmed cases of Zika virus infection in 2017, three cases in Ahmedabad Gujarat and one case in Krishnagiri District of Tamil Nadu.

The CDC, in an advisory issued on 13 December, stated the virus was endemic to India and pointed out “there is an unusual increase in the number of Zika cases in Rajasthan and surrounding states”. Cautioning pregnant women from visiting the state, the advisory said, "This is because Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects”.

Zika virus US agency advises pregnant women not to travel to Rajasthan likely to affect tourism in state

Representational image. AP

According to the CDC, women considering pregnancy should wait at least three months after returning to the US from Zika-affected areas before attempting to conceive, the advisory said. Men should wait for three months because Zika can stay in semen longer than in other body fluids, it said.

How tourism will be affected

According to an Indian Express report, tourism in Rajasthan might be affected due to the advisory. The alert comes at the time when it is tourist season in the state — from October to March. Between these months, events such as the Pushkar fair, Jaipur Literature Festival, Holi and Gangaur fair in Jaipur generally attract large numbers of tourists

In December 2017, Rajasthan saw a total tourist footfall of 35 lakh, including the Indian and foreign tourists, according to the state tourism department. The tourism industry in the state is bracing for the impact that the alert might have on it. The number of tourists may be much less this year.

Even in popular travel websites like TripAdvisor, the question of whether Rajasthan is safe to visit or not has been asked multiple times.

The first case in Rajasthan surfaced on 22 September. The virus, although discovered in 1947 in the forests of Uganda, came to prominence in 2015 when pregnant Brazilian women infected with the virus gave birth to babies with abnormally small heads that are normally associated with incomplete brain development (also called microcephaly). It was later linked to another debilitating condition Guillain–Barré syndrome, in which the immune system attacks healthy nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system, that can even lead to paralysis.

The virus, transmitted through the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, causes fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain. A Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome. Infection with Zika virus is also associated with other complications of pregnancy, including preterm birth and miscarriage.

With inputs from agencies

Click here to know more about signs, symptoms of Zika virus

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

WHO says restrictive measures in Europe 'absolutely necessary' amid surge of COVID-19 cases
World

WHO says restrictive measures in Europe 'absolutely necessary' amid surge of COVID-19 cases

In a press briefing on Thursday, Dr Hans Kluge warned that even more drastic steps could be taken if the pandemic does not recede

WHO chief warns against pursuing herd immunity against COVID-19, calls strategy 'simply unethical'
science

WHO chief warns against pursuing herd immunity against COVID-19, calls strategy 'simply unethical'

At a media briefing on Monday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said health officials typically aim to achieve herd immunity by vaccination

WHO Solidarity Trials find Remdesivir, HCQ, HIV drug, interferon ineffective in treating COVID-19
World

WHO Solidarity Trials find Remdesivir, HCQ, HIV drug, interferon ineffective in treating COVID-19

The WHO's Solidarity Therapeutics Trial was conducted in 11,266 adult patients in 405 hospitals across more than 30 countries.