Dengue, malaria, Ebola virus, Nipah virus and now Zika virus; India is gradually becoming a country where infectious diseases are spreading at an epidemic rate. It has been just a week back that the first case of Zika virus was reported and in a matter of just a few days as many as 7 cases have already been reported positive from Jaipur. The country in tow with the health officials is now gearing up for a robust defense against the infectious disease. Among the 7 reported cases, 3 are pregnant women. This makes matters even more severe. The health department in the said area has issued instructions to test Zika virus for every pregnant woman approaching hospitals and clinics. There have also been warnings issued that after Jaipur, Delhi might soon be affected by the disease.
Precaution is probably the best way to prevent the Zika virus. However, before that, let’s get to know everything about Zika virus and how it gets transmitted.
What is Zika Virus? How is it transmitted?
Similar to Dengue, Chikungunya and yellow fever, Zika virus gets transmitted through Aedes mosquito. Though Zika virus is not considered a serious form of a virus, however deaths due to this disease have been reported in the past.
Besides mosquitoes, it has also been confirmed that Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually. If a person has Zika virus in his or her body, it can be passed on to the sex partner. Also, a pregnant woman who has contracted Zika virus can pass it on to the fetus. It can lead to birth defects like microcephaly in which the baby is born with a damaged brain and underdeveloped head.
Tests have shown that Zika Virus can be found in blood, urine, semen, sweat, saliva, and eye fluid of the infected person.
Symptoms of Zika Virus:
Here are some common symptoms experienced in Zika virus –
Most of the affected people don’t exhibit any symptoms at all. It takes a minimum of 3 – 14 days for the symptoms to appear and the infection can last up to a week. It is better to seek a medical advice if any such symptoms are experienced.
Zika Virus treatment:
There is no specific treatment like medications or vaccinations for Zika Virus. Common fever and pain medications to treat symptoms do the trick. However, in recent times, there are researches to develop vaccines for Zika virus.
Zika Virus prevention:
Since this is a mosquito-borne disease, the best prevention is to take precaution against mosquito bites. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and your family against mosquito bites –
- Switch on mosquito repellants at all times of the day
- Cover yourself with full-sleeved, light color clothing to reduce skin exposure
- Use wire mesh on doors and windows
- Limit water storage in pots and containers. If you must, cover them well.
- Opt for a mosquito control at home
- Burn camphor in your room and close all doors and windows to free your home of mosquitoes.
Also if you have traveled to any region affected by Zika Virus, medical experts say that you should completely abstain from sex or use contraceptives. Women should stay away from sex for 8 weeks, whereas men should avoid sex for 6 months.
Keep yourself safe from mosquito bites and Zika Virus.