Kerala all set for Zika virus testing, receives 2100 PCR kits: Health minister
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala is all set for conducting Zika virus tests, informed health minister Veena George. In the first phase, the tests will be conducted at medical colleges in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Kozhikode and NIV unit in Alappuzha.
NIV Pune has supplied 2100 PCR kits for testing Zika virus to labs in these centres on Sunday.
1000 kits were supplied to Thiruvananthapuram medical college. 300 kits each provided to medical colleges in Thrissur and Kozhikode. Meanwhile, 500 kits were supplied to NIV Alappuzha.
500 triplex kits to detect Dengue fever, Chikungunya and Zika and 500 single-plex kits to test Zika virus were supplied to Thiruvananthapuram medical college. Other labs received single plex kits for Zika virus testing, explained the minister.
RTPCR test is conducted to confirm Zika virus infection. Samples of blood and urine will be tested to detect the virus. NIV has also recommended confirming Zika virus infection through a blood test. 5 ml blood of the suspected Zika virus patients will be collected. The serum will be separated from the blood for a PCR test. Around 8 hours will be taken for a test.
The minister also informed that Zika virus testing facilities will be established in more labs. Apart from medical colleges, public health labs will provide the testing facility.
In Kerala, the RTPCR test is conducted in 27 government labs. With the availability of more test kits, Zika virus testing will be conducted with the permission of NIV.
The minister added that the state has taken efforts to strengthen Zika virus prevention. Hospitals are directed to take patients especially pregnant women with symptoms including fever, rash and body pain for the Zika virus test.