Zika virus: All you need to know — overview, symptoms, prevention and control
Zika virusdisease is mainly transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which stings in daylight.
- Amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, Kerala, on Thursday, reported around 13 confirmed cases of Zika Virus for the first time.
- Majority of people who get infected with Zika virus do not develop symptoms, says WHO.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, Kerala, on Thursday, reported around 13 confirmed cases of Zika Virus for the first time.
In February 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) had confirmed Zika infection as a public health emergency. India reported its first case in Rajasthan where 63 pregnant women were diagnosed with the infection in 2017.
Zika virus disease is mainly transmitted by the Aedes mosquito which stings in daylight. Aedes mosquitoes are the same that transmit dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. It is a mosquito-borne flavivirus which was identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys and later in humans in 1952. According to WHO, the first outbreak of Zika virus was found in the Island of Yap in 2007, followed by French Polynesia in 2013, and Brazil in 2015.
What are the major
The incubation period (time between the exposure and first symptoms) is usually between 3-14 days. Majority of people who get infected with Zika virus do not develop symptoms, says WHO.
These are the major symptoms that have been found in people and usually last for 2-7 days —
- Mild to high fever
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
It is generally identified from the symptoms developed by individuals. However, it can be confirmed only by conducting laboratory tests of blood or other body fluids such as urine or semen.
How can Zika virus be transmitted?
Primarily, Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of Aedes mosquitoes which stings usually during the day. However, it can also be transferred from mother to foetus, unprotected sexual contact with an infected person, transfusion of blood and blood products and organ transplantation.
How is the Zika virus infected person treated?
WHO says that there is no treatment or vaccine available for this virus or related/associated diseases. However, people who develop mild symptoms such as fever, rash, nausea are recommended to take plenty of rest, increase the intake of fluids, and treat pain and fever with normal medication. If the condition of an infected person deteriorates, then one should seek immediate medical advice and care.
How can you protect yourself from this virus?
- The foremost recommended way to protect yourself is wear light coloured clothes which covers your maximum body area.
- Keep your windows and doors closed to avoid the entering of flies and mosquitoes.
- Apply mosquito repellent on skin or clothing that contains DEET, IR3535 or icaridin, which will be mentioned in the product label, prescribed by WHO.
- Young children and pregnant women should sleep under mosquito nets to protect them from infected mosquitoes.
- Avoid collection/storage of water, as these mosquitoes breed in such conditions.
- Travellers who are going to these infected areas should take proper precautions.
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