New Delhi, Oct 10: Rajasthan is witnessing the worst outbreak of Zika virus in India with 29 people already been tested positive for it. The Health Ministry has swung into action and taking steps to contain the outbreak. Health Minister JP Nadda on Tuesday appealed to people not to panic.
The first Zika virus outbreak occurred in Ahmedabad in January and February 2017 and second outbreak in July 2017 from Krishnagiri District in Tamil Nadu. So, this is the third outbreak of Zika in India.
Bihar is also on high alert because one of the persons found to be infected with Zika virus hailed from Bihar and he had visited his home recently.
What is Zika Virus?
Zika virus is similar to dengue fever, yellow fever and West Nile virus. Carried by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitos, Zika is largely transmitted through bites, but can also occur through intrauterine infection.
If a woman is bitten by an infected mosquito and becomes infected, Zika can cross into the placenta and affect the fetus. While anyone can contract Zika, pregnant women are the most at risk due to the potential for fetal microcephaly and other neurologic abnormalities.
Sexual transmission of this virus can occur. The transmission has been reported from infected men and women to their sexual partners. The virus can be transmitted through anal, oral or vaginal sex.
Zika can lead to birth defects:
Although Zika was first identified in 1947, the virus wasn’t considered a major health threat until a major outbreak in Brazil a few years back revealed that Zika can lead to severe birth defects when pregnant women are infected. It has been associated with a birth defect called microcephaly that causes brain damage and an abnormally small head in babies born to mothers infected during pregnancy.
Currently, there is no cure or treatment for the virus, which has been linked to serious neurological problems in infants whose mothers were exposed in early pregnancy. For much of 2016, Zika was considered a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Fever: Just like malaria and dengue, which are caused by aedes mosquitoes, zika also results in fever. In most cases, it is manifested as high fever (102 degree F) that could last for two to seven days.
Headache: As the zika virus is transmitted through blood, it can lead to severe headache which usually lasts for more than three days.
Red eyes: In some cases, the disease can manifest as conjunctivitis or red eyes. So if you experience this symptom that fails to subside within a day or two, consult your doctor.
Skin rash: One of the classic symptoms of dengue, skin rash is also a sign of zika viral disease. It usually develops after two-three days of infection and also leads to pale skin.
Fatigue: If you are feeling fatigued, coupled with high fever and see no improvement even after three days, it could indicate zika fever. Rather than ignoring, it’s wise to consult a doctor immediately.
Muscle/joint pain: Also known as arthalgia, muscle and joint pain might signify zika infection. It mainly affects the muscles and joints of the legs and arms, especially the thigh and elbow region.