The new threat to human life is the Zika virus, a member of the Flaviviridae virus family that causes Zika fever or Zika virus disease. A recent case confirmed that a 5-year-old girl in Raichur district of Karnataka had the Zika virus. This is the first confirmed case in the southern Indian state. Before this, a few months ago, similar illnesses were confirmed in Kerala, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said, “The government is closely watching the situation as it is the first case in the state. To handle it, our department is well equipped.”
Dr NK Arora, head of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), on Tuesday said India must be prepared to combat the Zika virus in case of an “outbreak”.
However, do you know about Zika virus disease? Otherwise, read on to learn more about symptoms, causes, treatments, diagnoses, precautions, and more.
What is the Zika virus?
A member of the Flaviviridae virus family is the Zika virus. Aedes mosquitoes that are active during the day, such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus, transmit it. The Ziika forest in Uganda, where the virus was first discovered in 1947, gave the disease its name. Dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses belong to the same genus as the Zika virus.
It has been documented to occur within a restricted equatorial belt stretching from Africa to Asia since the 1950s. The 2015-2016 Zika virus epidemic was caused by the spread of the virus eastward across the Pacific Ocean to the Americas. between 2007 and 2016. The African lineage and the Asian lineage are the two lineages of Zika.
Some babies are born with microcephaly and other brain malformations due to infections during pregnancy. Zika virus has been shown to infect human Schwann cells, and infection in adults has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).
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Causes of Zika virus disease
The female Aedes aegypti mosquito primarily transmits Zika during the day. Although it is still not clear what the real scope of the vectors is. Anopheles coustani, Mansonia uniformis and Culex perfuscus are just some of the Aedes species that have been found to carry the Zika virus, although this does not necessarily prove that they are the vectors of the disease.
Zika is reportedly more likely to be limited to tropical regions than dengue because it may be affected to a greater extent by changes in precipitation and temperature. However, as global temperatures rise, the reach of the disease vector may extend further north, allowing Zika to follow suit. Other transmission methods include:
- Both men and women can transmit the Zika virus to their sexual partners, and most cases where this happens are between symptomatic men and women.
- The Zika virus can spread during pregnancy, childbirth, or through vertical transmission.
- Following confirmation that Zika can be spread through blood transfusions, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended screening blood donors and deferring high-risk donors for 4 weeks.
Symptoms of Zika virus disease
Zika fever is an illness caused by the Zika virus. It is estimated that around 80% of cases are asymptomatic. However, symptomatic cases include the signs involved:
- Slight fever
- Red eyes
- Joint pain
- Maculopapular rash.
These symptoms of Zika virus disease generally last less than seven days.
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Diagnosis of Zika virus disease
Based on the symptoms of people who reside or travel to areas where the Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes or both, it is possible to suspect infection with the virus. Only the presence of Zika virus RNA in laboratory tests of blood or other body fluids can confirm the diagnosis of Zika virus infection, and must be distinguished from related cross-reactive flaviviruses, such as dengue virus, to which patient may have been exposed or may have been previously exposed. immunized.
Treatment for Zika virus disease
There is no specific treatment for Zika virus infection. Get plenty of rest to help relieve symptoms and drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. Acetaminophen, which is available over the counter under the brand names Tylenol and others, can reduce fever and joint pain.
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Vaccine against Zika virus disease
According to Dr. Arora, “Zika virus is something of a priority virus for which both preventive measures must be taken. Efforts are currently underway to develop a Zika vaccine in this country and we are hoping to be among the first”. “There are few countries where the vaccine will be available.”
“We must be prepared in any case of outbreak or difficulty, because if pregnant women become infected, the fetus may also be affected,” the NTAGI chief added.
The World Health Organization has recommended as a top priority the development of inactivated and other non-live vaccines that are safe for use in pregnant women.
As of March 2016, 18 companies and institutions were developing a Zika vaccine, but they estimate it will not be widely available for 10 years.
The FDA first approved a human clinical trial for a Zika vaccine in June 2016. A DNA vaccine received approval for Phase 2 clinical trials in March 2017. This vaccine is composed of a plasmid, a circular piece microscopic DNA that expresses genes. for Zika virus envelope proteins. The vaccine cannot infect people because it does not contain the complete viral sequence.
Prevention of Zika virus disease
Precautionary measures are crucial because Zika virus disease has no vaccine or specific treatment. Check the following details:
- Using condoms correctly and reducing mosquito bites in areas where the disease is present are two prevention methods.
- use of insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin.
- Wear clothes with wide sleeves and cover your body.
- Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can breed.
- Health officials advise pregnant women to postpone pregnancy or avoid visiting affected areas while they are there.
- Hospital admission is rarely required.
Meanwhile, do not look for any kind of rumors or misinformation unless it comes from an official and authentic source.