It was last year that the first outbreak of Zika virus was reported in Ahmedabad and the second one was reported in Tamil Nadu. Now according to latest reports, 22 Zika virus cases have been reported in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Zika virus was first isolated in 1947 in Uganda’s zika forest. The virus can be transmitted by Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes – the same mosquitoes which are also carriers of dengue and chikungunya. Zika virus has often been linked to birth defects and development of Guillain-Barre syndrome, where one’s immune system attacks the nerves. A surprising factor about zika virus is that some people infected by it might not show any signs or symptoms. Only 20% of the people may show symptoms of zika virus. There have also been cases where zika virus has spread through sexual contact.
Zika virus: signs and symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of zika virus are fever, body aches, headache, joint pain and mild rashes. In some extreme cases, zika virus can cause extreme headaches and eye infections which may last up to a week.
The biggest concern about zika is its association with microcephaly. Microcephaly is a rare neurodevelopmental condition which results in an abnormally small skull with an underdeveloped brain. For instance, if the average normal circumference of a newborn baby is 36 cm, a baby with microcephaly will have a skull size of 20 cm. Pregnant women who get infected by zika virus in the first trimester have been found to have babies with an increased incidence of microcephaly.
Microcephaly can lead to delays in speech, affect vision, cause seizures and even mental retardation. The condition can be very stressful for the child and the family.
Zika virus diagnosis
Diagnosis of zika is dependent on the duration of symptoms ever since the patient presented. If the patient presents in the first two weeks, real-time Polymer Chain Reaction (PCR) is used for diagnosis of zika virus. It is a very sensitive and specific molecular method which is done by taking a blood test.
Zika virus treatment
Currently, there are no vaccines or cure for zika virus. Thus, the only way to prevent outbreak or being infected by zika virus is to take suitable precautions.
In high-risk areas such as damp areas which can be home to mosquitoes, make sure you wear full-sleeved clothes. Use mosquito repellants in the house regularly. Ensure that your surroundings are clean. Zika-causing mosquitos are more aggressive during the day and may be found in indoor spaces.
Make sure that water is not collected anywhere in or outside the house. Common spaces where water gets collected are bird feeders, planters, coolers and flower pots. Make sure fogging and spraying is done in your house and the area that you live in regularly.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.