Zika Virus: What you Should Know?

What is a Zika Virus?

Zika Virus is a disease caused by a virus transmitted by daytime Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopticus mosquito and which also transmits Chikungunya, Dengue and Yellow Fever. Sexual Transmission of the disease is also possible.

What are the Symptoms of Zika Virus Disease?

Mild Fever or rash can appear after few days of being bitten by an infected mosquito. Muscle and Joint Pain, Tiredness, Conjunctivitis. Symptoms usually last from 2 to 7 Days.

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How is it detected?

Zika Virus can be detected in blood and urine sample of suspected cases using RT-PCR. Results are typically available after 3 Weeks.

What are the Complications of Zika Virus Disease?

Zika virus is known to trigger Guillain Barrè Syndrome in adults. It also causes severe neurological deficits and Microcephaly in foetus of a pregnant woman.

What is Guillain Barrè Syndrome?

Guillain Barrè Syndrome is a condition in which the person’s own immune system attacks his or her nerves. In 20 to 30% of the cases, the chest muscles are severely affected making it hard for the person to breathe which results in near total paralysis or death.

What is Microcephaly?

Microcephaly is a condition in which the baby’s head is smaller than those of other babies of the same age. Zika Virus infection in a pregnant woman is known to trigger Microcephaly. Children born with Microcephaly may have developmental challenges as they grow older.

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What is Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome?

A range of manifestations have been reported in babies’ upto 4 weeks old upon exposure to Zika Virus in utero. These includes malformation of head, involuntary movements, seizures, brainstem dysfunctions, difficulty in swallowing, limb contractures, contractures, hear and sight anomalies. Other outcomes may include miscarriage or stillbirths. These group of manifestations are known as Zika Virus Syndrome.

Is India at Risk?

The medical journal Lancet has said 2.6 billion people living in parts of Asia and Africa could be at risk of Zika infection, based on analysis of travel, climate and mosquito patterns in those regions.Although Zika was first identified in 1947, the virus wasn’t considered a major health threat until a major outbreak in Brazil in 2015 revealed that it can lead to severe birth defects when pregnant women are infected. WHO Declared Zika Virus as global public health emergency last year.

On 15th of May 2017, WHO said that India has reported three confirmed cases of Zika Virus infection in the western state of Gujarat. According to the WHO, more cases of Zika virus may occur in the future as it is known to be circulating in South East Asia region.

How is it treated?

There is no specific medicine or vaccine available for Zika Virus Infection. Treatment aims at relieving the symptoms with rest, plenty of fluids, medications for joint pain and fever. Aspirin and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) should be avoided until Dengue is ruled out.

How to stay protected?

Your best protection is to prevent mosquito breeding and protect yourself from a mosquito bite.

How to prevent breeding of Mosquito?

  • At least weekly empty or get rid of cans, buckets, old tires, pots, plant saucers and other containers that hold water.
  • Keep gutters clear of debris and standing water.
  • Remove standing water around structures and from roof
  • Rinse and scrub vases and other indoor water containers weekly.
  • Maintain backyard pools or hot tubs.
  • Cover trash containers.
  • Water lawns and gardens carefully so water does not stand for several days.
  • Treat front and back door areas of homes with residual insecticides if mosquitoes are abundant nearby.

How to protect yourself from Mosquito Bites?

  • Wear Insect Repellents
  • Cover up with long sleeve shirts and long pants
  • Keep mosquitoes out with air conditioning the room or by keeping the windows and doors closed.
  • Limit outdoor activities during the peak mosquito times.

How to Protect yourself if you are providing care to a person infected with Zika?

  • Do not touch blood or body fluids or surfaces with these fluids on them with exposed skin.
  • Wash hands with soap and water immediately after providing care.
  • Immediately remove and wash clothes if they get blood or body fluids on them. Use laundry detergent and water temperature specified on the garment label. Using bleach is not necessary.
  • Clean the sick person’s environment daily using household cleaners according to label instructions.
  • Immediately clean surfaces that have blood or other body fluids on them using household cleaners and disinfectants according to label instructions.

If you visit a family member or friend with Zika in a hospital, you should avoid contact with the person’s blood and body fluids and surfaces with these fluids on them. Helping the person sit up or walk should not expose you. Make sure to wash your hands before and after touching the person







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