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Mosquito-borne Diseases March 27, 2019

Zika Virus in India- What You Need to Know

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that was first detected in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys through a network that monitored yellow fever.


The Zika virus belongs to Flaviviridae family and the Flavivirus genus and is thus related to the dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. Like other flaviviruses, Zika virus is enveloped and icosahedral and has a nonsegmented, single-stranded, ten kilobase positive-sense RNA genome. It is closely related to the Spondweni virus and is one of the two known viruses in the Spondweni virus clade.


Zika virus disease is mainly spread by mosquitoes. For most people, it is a very mild infection and isn’t harmful. However, it may be more severe for pregnant women, as there’s evidence it causes congenital disabilities – in particular, abnormally small heads (microcephaly).


Symptoms of Zika Virus –


The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for the Zika virus disease is not precise but is likely to be a few days. The signs and symptoms of Zika virus infection are mild and may last around two to seven days. The typical symptoms of Zika Virus include-


1. fever

2. rash

3. itching all over the body

4. a headache

5. joint and muscle pain

6. conjunctivitis

7. lower back pain

8. pain behind the eyes


Prevention of Zika Virus – Here’s how you can prevent Zika virus from spreading:

  1. Use Environmental Protection Agency registered insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. Make sure you apply it to the exposed skin area. Goodknight repellents offer you the protection you need from mosquitoes.
  2. If you are pregnant and your partner has visited an affected area, the CDC recommends abstaining from sex or using a condom. Sexual partners of pregnant women, living in or returning from areas where local transmission of Zika virus occurs should practice safer sex or abstain from sexual activity throughout the pregnancy period.
  3. Minimize exposed skin and wear light-coloured long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  4. Make sure there is no standing water in and around your house because mosquito eggs hatch in water.
  5. Sleep under mosquito nets with windows and doors closed or securely screened if there is no air conditioning.
  6. Avoid the usage of scented skin care products as mosquitoes get attracted to the smell of these products.


How to treat Zika virus?


There are no vaccines developed for the treatment of Zika. The people infected with Zika virus must get ample amount of rest, drink fluids to prevent dehydration, and take acetaminophen for fever and pain. If symptoms worsen, the patients should seek medical care and advice.


Diagnosis is made by testing the blood, urine, or saliva for the presence of Zika virus RNA when the person is sick.

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