Denounce Cover-Up of Zika Virus Outbreak

Target: Shri J.P. Nadda, Minister of Health and Welfare, India

Goal: Denounce judgment of Indian Health Ministry in not publicly disclosing that several citizens had been infected with the Zika virus.

The Indian Health Ministry chose not to disclose three confirmed cases of Zika virus in the western state of Gujarat for several months. This decision left women in the region at a higher risk for exposure to the virus.

Several thousand people have been infected with Zika since the modern epidemic was first tracked in 2014. The virus is most commonly spread by the Aedes mosquito, but may also be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Zika is a primary concern for pregnant women as infection has been linked with development of microcephaly, or “tiny head” syndrome, in the fetus. Babies born with microcephaly are at risk of significant birth defects including developmental delay, seizures and hearing loss.

It was the judgement of Indian health officials that public notification of Zika’s arrival in the country would cause a mass panic. This rationale has been broadly criticized as it violated widely accepted public health codes of ethics and delayed implementation of standard precautions to reduce risk of exposure. Immediate public warning would have given pregnant women an opportunity to avoid travel within the Gujarat region and spurred state residents to take preventative measures.

Citizens have the right to know of a looming threat to their health and safety. Please sign the below petition calling out the Indian Health Ministry for failing to protect those they serve.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Nadda,

I am writing to state my objection to the Health Ministry’s decision to not publicly disclose the three confirmed cases of Zika in Gujarat. This inaction violated widely accepted public health codes of ethics which mandate the timely release of information vital to citizens for ensuring their health and safety.

As Health Minister you bear ultimate responsibility for the months of delay which may have exposed greater numbers of those you serve to the virus. Please recognize the gravity of this mistake and commit to timely disclosure of future threats to public health.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Frank Hadley Collins

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332 Signatures

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