Laxmi Narayan Mishra had a cold and a mildly scratchy throat for about 10 days when a team from Kanpur’s health department visited his home in the Shyam Nagar locality on October 28 and asked his wife if there was anybody ill in the house.

Mishra blood samples were collected the same day. The next day, the health department told him he had tested positive for Zika.

Zika is a viral infection that primarily spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito, but can also be sexually transmitted. While the infection itself is not fatal, it can trigger a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause paralysis. In pregnant women, there is an added risk of microcephaly, a birth defect where babies are born with abnormally small heads.

While a few states in India have seen previous Zika outbreaks, Uttar Pradesh had not reported any cases of the infection until October 23, when the first case was detected in Kanpur.

Twenty days later, the number of Zika cases in Kanpur has climbed to 123. Infected cases were initially restricted to a radius of 1-2 km, in colonies like Pokharpur, Adarsh Nagar, Tiwaripur and Harjinder Nagar. But they are now being detected in areas beyond 4…

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