JAIPUR: The state government has written to ministry of external affairs urging it to take up matter with the US for withdrawing travel advisory against travelling to Rajasthan after it reported cases of
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also raised the issue urging the US to withdraw it.
“We have written to the Centre to take up the issue with the US agencies to withdraw the travel advisory against visiting Rajasthan and India as no case of Zika has been reported since October 28,” said Dr Ravi Prakash Mathur, additional director (rural health), health department.
“Presently situation is "totally under control" and there is no need for any Travel Advisory as issued by Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, USA. I would request you to take up this matter with appropriate authorities as this is important and may have adversely effect on tourists visiting city of Jaipur during this season,” additional chief secretary Rohit Kumar Singh wrote in a letter to ministry of external affairs secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale.
A US federal agency Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an advisory cautioning pregnant woman against travelling to Rajasthan citing "unusual increase" in the number of Zika cases. CDC is the agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, USA. “The CDC alert comes in the middle of peak tourist season- October to March- in Rajasthan due to the Christmas and New Year holidays in western countries,” Singh added in the letter.
However, health department claimed that Zika has already been eliminated from the state. There were 159 cases of
disease reported recently in September and October from Jaipur. “Last case of Zika virus disease was reported from Jaipur on October 28, 2018. However, the state government is maintaining high vigil for possibility of new cases through its network of VDRL labs by routine surveillance,” the letter says.
“ICMR-NIV, Pune has sequenced five Zika virus strains collected at different time points of the Jaipur outbreak. Advanced molecular studies of Zika virus strains, carried out through Next Generation Sequencing suggest that the known mutations linked to fetal microcephaly and high transmissibility of Zika virus in aedes mosquitoes are not present in the current Zika virus strain that has affected Rajasthan,” Singh mentioned in the letter.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) under Department of Health Research is in the forefront of advanced research in virology and the ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV) is at par with leading scientific establishments across the world. ICMR also pointed out that Zika virus outbreak in both Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have now subsided completely.