Declared as a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the spreading of the Zika virus has steadily raised concerns across the world. The worry from an Indian perspective is whether the Zika virus has made its foray into the country.
Not yet, remains the answer, and the health authorities are doing everything to ensure the Aedes aegypti mosquito-led virus doesn't enter the country.
The worst cases of the Zika virus have been reported from South America, especially Brazil, where pregnant women remain the most vulnerable. The virus has led to a growth in the cases of microcephaly -- a condition that results in infants being born with birth defects such as small heads, due to partially-developed brains.
Brazil, also a football powerhouse, was reported to have seen as many as 4,000 cases of microcephaly since the last year. And now, with revered Brazil football club Atletico Paranaense taking part in Kerala's traditional Nagjee Football tournament, the Zika virus fear has reached Indian shores.
According to a report carried out by The New Indian Express on Wednesday, a big group of health officials, led by Kozhikode's District Medical Officer Dr RL Saritha, are keeping their eyes on the situation, and are checking the visiting supporters from Brazil, as well as the team, comprising of 18 players and six officals.
Routine checkup camps are also being taken up on a frequent basis to eradicate any Zika virus fear.
"Though no presence of Zika has been reported, we are maintaining a tight vigil," KV Baburaj, the health standing committee chairman of the Kozhikode Corporation, said. "We are taking up efforts to eradicate mosquitoes within 400-metre of the stadium and the Brazilian team's hotel.
The local manager of the Brazilian team in Kerala also stated that the players and officials are undergoing checkups thoroughly, and their reports are being put forward to the district health department on a daily basis.
"We have made all arrangements for conducting detailed checkups of players and submission of daily reports," Arun Nanu, the local manager of Atletico Paranaense, informed.