India's Zika virus outbreak is turning out to be worse this year, with 72 people being diagnosed with the infection.
"With 12 fresh cases in the past 24 hours, the number of Zika infected patients has now touched 72. All these patients are from the western Indian state of Rajasthan's capital Jaipur, barely 300 km from the national capital," a senior health official said Tuesday.
A number of victims are migrant workers from eastern Indian states, while others are local people, the official added.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan's top health official Veenu Gupta has said that of the 72 cases, 60 patients have recovered, while 12 are still under observation. To counter Zika, fogging and anti-larvae activities have been intensified in the city, she added.
"More than 280 teams of the health department are conducting door-to-door survey and so far 96,000 houses have been surveyed. More than 244,000 containers were checked and larvae found in more than 55,000 containers, which were treated," Gupta told the media.
Alarmed at the rising number of Zika cases, the Indian Health Ministry has already set up a control room at the National Centre for Disease Control to undertake regular monitoring of the situation in Rajasthan.
"India's additional secretary (health) Sanjeeva Kumar Monday held a video conferencing with top health officials of all states and asked them to curb mosquito breeding and also intensify vector control strategies to contain Zika outbreak," another health official said.
The Health Ministry has also directed states to adhere to the norms of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme for controlling Zika. "However, there is no need to panic as it's not fatal," the official added.
Zika virus disease is spread by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes. Its symptoms include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, and headache.
This is the third Zika virus outbreak in India since January 2017.
The first outbreak of Zika was reported in India in January 2017 in the western state of Gujarat, while the second outbreak was reported in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in July 2017. Both these outbreaks were contained.