Indian athletes who participated at the Rio Olympics may be screened for Zika virus as a preventive measure after middle-distance runner Sudha Singh reported symptoms on her arrival in Bengaluru.
Sudha, who participated in the 3000 metre steeplechase, has tested negative for dengue and chikungunya. Now, her blood samples have been sent for screening H1N1 and Zika virus infections, according to a Times of India report.
Following reports on Sudha's health, the Union Health Ministry has stepped up surveillance and has reportedly sent an alert to monitor the athletes, coaches and other members of the contingent who were in Rio for the Games.
Ahead of the Rio Olympics, the Brazilian government had assured that there was no threat from Zika. However, several athletes went ahead to opt out of the event due to the increased risk of Zika contraction.
Zika often appears in the form of normal flu, but can cause serious congenital disabilities and nervous disorders. The health ministry in an advisory issued earlier had also arranged for screening facilities across international airports of the country.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has also been directed to submit a list of the members of the Indian contingent who were in Rio to begin screening for Zika.
"We have instructed authorities at the Kempegowda International Airport to conduct surveillance since March as per a central government directive to isolate passengers coming from areas vulnerable to Zika and with possibility of getting infected by the virus. We are continuing to do that even now. We have also been collating reports from the airport authorities on a daily basis," Sunanda, district surveillance officer, health and family welfare department of Karnataka told the TOI.
The athletes who shared an apartment with Sudha in Rio, including OP Jaisha, Kavita Raut and Lalita Babar, would also be investigated.