What’s Zika virus: Signs, precautions and reasons | – Occasions of India

What’s Zika virus: Signs, precautions and reasons | – Occasions of India

NEW DELHI: Even as the Covid pandemic continues to rage in Kerala, the state reported its first case of Zika virus infection on Thursday.
These new and re-emerging pathogens with epidemic potential have threatened health security.
Here’s all you need to know about the Zika virus-
What is Zika Virus
Just like dengue and malaria, Zika is a kind of virus that spreads from the bite of a mosquito. It is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day. The same mosquito is responsible for spreading dengue, chikungunya as well.
Zika history
The strain was first identified in Africa in 1947 but the cases came into the limelight when the outbreak was identified in Brazil in 2015 and slowly, the virus its way to India as well. The virus spreads in the usual manner, through an infected Aedes mosquito but the disease can also spread through sexual contact.
Zika was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation in 2016.
Symptoms
The first visible sign of Zika is fever, much like dengue. However, it is very hard to diagnose at first. Many patients confuse the symptoms of the flu and hence, they do not know if they have contracted Zika.
If a patient has a fever, running nose, headache and rashes which persists for over a week, it is time to get tested.
Some people also get conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, and headache, commencing two to seven days following exposure. In rare cases, Zika Virus has also been found to cause autoimmune infections.
Zika and neurological disorders
Zika has also been associated with other neurological disorders, including serious brain and spinal cord infections. The long-term health consequences of Zika infection are unclear.
Precautions
Since the Aedes mosquito is the most active during the daytime and late afternoon, it is cautioned that people limit their outdoor exposure as much as they can during this time and stay covered; use high-grade mosquito repellants.
People staying indoors should also ensure that water does not stay collected in the open.
To lower the risk of birth anomalies and further spread, it is also advised that partners returning from Zika-infected should practice safe sex or abstain from it, if possible.
Can you die of Zika
Not necessarily, no. Like other mosquito-bitten diseases, rest and medication are the keys to cure Zika. Usually, patients recover but the disease kills about 1 percent of victims.
Is there a solution
No vaccine currently exists to prevent Zika. However, researchers in France are trying to develop a safe, effective vaccine for which trials are underway.

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