What is the Zika Virus? Know symptoms, causes and risk factors, prevention

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Image source: PTI

What is the Zika Virus?

With 13 new cases of Zika virus in Kanpur and one confirmed case in Kannauj district of Uttar Pradesh, the total number of mosquito-borne disease cases in Uttar Pradesh is 79. With Zika virus continuing to wreak havoc in Kanpur, we need it exercise particular caution. The mosquito-borne disease is spread by the Aedes mosquito, the same species that carries the dengue and chikungunya viruses. It was first identified in monkeys in Uganda in 1947 and later in humans in 1952.

The symptoms of infection are mild, but if a pregnant woman becomes infected with the virus, it can have serious effects on the pregnancy and the unborn child.

Zika virus: symptoms

Some people who are infected with the Zika virus have no symptoms. Usually symptoms appear between two and 14 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms last about a week.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • fever
  • Rash
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis, or eye pain or redness in the eyes
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • stomach pain
  • malaise

Zika virus: causes, complications, and risk factors

  • Traveling to an area where Zika is found can be very risky as it is most often transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus can also be transmitted from one person to another through sexual contact. In some cases, people get the virus through blood transfusions or organ donations.
  • Complications from Zika can be devastating when a pregnant woman becomes infected with the virus. It can cause a brain defect known as microcephaly in the developing fetus and the newborn. The newborn’s brain and head will be smaller than usual. Loss of pregnancy, stillbirth, premature birth, and other congenital disabilities.

Note: So far, there is no known transmission of the virus from mother to child during breastfeeding.

  • In adults, infection with the Zika virus can lead to brain or nervous system complications such as Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Zika virus: prevention

  • There is no treatment for the Zika virus infection or the diseases associated with it.
  • The symptoms of a Zika virus infection are usually mild. People with symptoms such as fever, rash, headache should get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical help and advice.
  • Pregnant women diagnosed with Zika should be considered for monitoring of fetal growth and anatomy program based on medical advice.

    (Inputs from WHO)


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