Zika Virus – Causes, Symptoms, Detection, Effects and Prevention
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus infection. It was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in the monkeys. Later, in 1952 the virus was identified in humans in Tanzania and Uganda. Currently, the outbreaks of the virus have been reported in Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific.
Earlier, the Zika virus was restricted to the narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia but since 2007 it has started spreading eastward across the Pacific ocean. On October 9, 2018, the virus was detected in India in the tourism hotspot Jaipur. Twenty-two cases have been detected in the city till now. So, it is high time to take preventive measures against this viral illness.
To know more about the virus read below.
Causes of Zika Virus infection:
Zika Virus is usually spread by Aedes mosquito which bites during the day. Once a person is bitten by the mosquito they get affected by this virus which stays in their blood for a few days. The virus stays longer in some people’s blood depending on the situation.
People infected with the virus won’t have strong symptoms. They are more like the symptoms of dengue or chikungunya. There are only mild symptoms which include –
- Muscle pain
- Low-grade fever
- Swollen joints in hands and feet
- Joint Pain
- The symptoms last for nearly 2 to 7 days.
Testing for Zika Virus:
The presence of Zika virus can be confirmed by blood or urine test. Zika virus can be detected easily as it usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week.
Treatment for Zika Virus:
No such medicine has been discovered for the treatment of Zika Virus. However, precautions can be taken for the prevention of the virus.
Read More on the development of vaccinations:
Effects of Zika Virus:
- Zika Virus can increase the risk of neurologic complications such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy, and myelitis within children and adults.
- During pregnancy, the infection can cause infants to be born with deformities, microcephaly and other congenital malformations which are commonly known as congenital Zika syndrome.
- Other problems include limb contracture, eye abnormalities, hearing loss etc.
Tips to prevent the spread of Zika Virus –
Tips to prevent the spread of Zika Virus:
- Prevent yourself from getting in contact with blood and body fluids of other people.
- Zika Virus transmits through mosquito bites so one should stay away from mosquitoes.
- The virus can be sexually transmitted so proper preventive measures should be taken.
- It is advised not to visit the places which are vulnerable to the Zika virus infections.
- Personal protection measures like wearing light color clothing which covers most of your body can be taken.
- Physical barriers such as window screens, and closed doors can also be helpful.
- Applying insect repellent to skin and clothing could also prevent the spread of the virus.
- Pregnant women should take more care and sleep under mosquito nets etc. in order to stay safe.
- Fetal loss, stillbirth and preterm birth are some pregnancy complications caused due to Zika virus.
- Special care should be taken during the day as the virus is usually transmitted by Aedes mosquito which bite during daytime only.
- Travellers should not visit the affected areas.
Countries on Alert-
Countries on Alert:
- Burma (Myanmar)
- Timor-Leste (East Timor)
Read more on outbreak of other viruses in India: