Fearing panic, officials keep Zika case secret for 10 days
Government took anti-mosquito measures before announcing new infection
After the first Zika virus case was detected in Tamil Nadu, the authorities kept the public in the dark for 10 days to avoid a mass panic while it responded with vector-control measures to thwart the spread of the mosquito-borne disease.
On Monday, Tamil Nadu’s public health authorities announced that the first case of Zika virus was reported in Krishnagiri district, according to media reports.
The victim was a 27-year-old tailor who reportedly complained of fever, redness of the eyes, photophobia, skin rashes and joint pain, which are the main Zika symptoms.
J Radhakrishnan, the health secretary, was quoted as saying, “The patient was suffering from mysterious fever since June 26. He was admitted as an outpatient at a public health center on June 29, where he was tested for typhoid, swine flu, malaria, dengue and other viral fevers, which turned negative. When tested for Zika, reports turned positive and were confirmed through reports from the National Institute of Virology, Pune.”
To avoid a mass panic, the announcement of the state’s first case of Zika virus was postponed for 10 days after he tested positive. Meanwhile, the patient recovered fully and officials too vector-control measures in the area where he lives.
Radhakrishnan added, “The transmission has not taken place from any Zika-affected country. We suspect that the man is locally-infected.”
It was the fourth known case of Zika virus reported in the country. Three cases were reported in Gujarat late last year.