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Chances of Zika outbreak in India high, warns expert

Last Updated : 22 December 2016, 20:26 IST
Last Updated : 22 December 2016, 20:26 IST

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The country might be at a lower risk of seeing an Ebola outbreak. However, India is at a higher risk of getting Zika virus transmission, according to Peter Piot, member of the World Health Organisation Advisory Group on the Ebola Virus Disease Response.

He spoke to DH following his talk on “Ebola and other epidemic threats in today’s world” at the Indian Institute of Public Health in the city on Thursday. Piot said that with the country having seen several other mosquito-borne illness such as dengue, chikungunya and malaria, chances of India seeing Zika are high. “There have been several dengue outbreaks in the past. India is at a lesser risk of Ebola than Zika,” he added.

He also warned that countries such as India ought to improve their preparedness for any influenza outbreak. Speaking about antibiotic resistance, he said that in India, there is a known threat, particularly to those hospitalised.

“Indiscriminate use of anti-biotics, hospital-acquired infection, rampant use of over-the-counter drugs and drugs consumed in inappropriate dosages must be avoided. In urban areas, we see an overuse of antibiotics and in the rural, an under use. Both are bad,” he added.

Non-communicable diseases

The growing number of people with diabetes is an enormous burden on the healthcare services, opined Piot. He emphasised on the need to make diseases notifiable. “When you collect data, trends can be assessed. High risk areas can be identified. A system has to be set up to monitor non-communicable diseases and measure trends. This will give us good information and the efforts to prevent these diseases would not go waste.”

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Published 22 December 2016, 20:26 IST

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