Thiruvananthapuram | Jagran News Desk: Doctors in Kerala have claimed that "mild cases" of the Zika virus have been present in the state since April this year. However, they said that these cases were not getting detected because of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown-like restrictions imposed in the state.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Dr Rajalakshmi, Senior consultant at the KIMSHEALTH hospital, said several people reported common Zika symptoms like fever, rashes and red eyes earlier this year.

"We had been getting patients complaining of rashes and fever since April. I would say that it peaked around May, right after the monsoon season. But since the coronavirus was also peaking at the time, we were conducting teleconsultations and they did not come to the OPD," Dr. Rajalakshmi said.

She added, "We sent a few samples to test for dengue, chikungunya, and measles but all tested negative. I presume many people had mild cases and did not come to the hospital."

"The government has made the test available for the last two days. We are sending them samples. We will only know which pockets in the state have greater prevalence when a serosurvey is done," she said.

Dr Niyas, who confirmed the diagnosis of the first patient, Zika virus told ANI that the treatment of the virus is simple and easy. However, it may cause malformation in the foetus.

"Samples of any person showing Zika Virus symptoms are being sent for testing, not just pregnant women," Niyas said.

So far, Kerala has reported 28 Zika virus cases, said state health minister Veena George. She, however, said that there are only eight active Zika cases, three of them pregnant women, in the state at present.

"The outbreak of the virus is reported only in Thiruvananthapuram and not in any other districts so far. We have decided toincrease testing across the state," she said.

Posted By: Mallika Mehzabeen