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India fertile ground for Zika epidemic

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  3 Sep 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Toronto, Sept 2: With 13 Indians already confirmed to have been infected with the Zika virus in Singapore, experts have more bad news to share. A new study has warned that India has all the right ingredients for a potential Zika epidemic. A combition of factors — high travel volumes from Zika affected areas in the Americas, local presence of mosquitos capable of transmitting Zika virus, suitable climatic conditions, large populations and/or limited health resources — put India and few other countries in Africa and Asia pacific at greatest risk of Zika virus transmission, the researchers found. “An estimated 2.6 billion people live in areas of Africa and Asia-Pacific where the local mosquito species and suitable climatic conditions mean that local Zika virus transmission is theoretically possible,” said study author Kamran Khan from St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Cada.

“Warmer temperatures in the northern hemisphere (when mosquitos are more active) increase the risk of new outbreaks appearing outside of the Americas,” Khan added.

In this study, the researchers established the ecological niche for Zika virus in the Americas - where Zika virus transmission has been reported or where conditions are suitable.

The researchers then gathered data on airline ticket sales from 689 cities with one or more airports in the region travelling to Africa or Asia-Pacific over a whole year - December 2014 to November 2015. The research team then modelled three different scerios of seasol suitability for mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus. (IANS)

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