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India Faced with a first significant outbreak of Zika virus | Know: Signs, Symptoms and Prevention

Zika virus has been infected more than 130 people in Jaipur, government officials are trying hard to contain the disease.

There are multiple instances of zika outbreak in Africa and the Americas but was not common in India. The first confirmed case was reported last year from Gujarat and Tamil Nadu with a handful of infections. The current outbreak is much larger and virus-infected mosquitoes were found for the first time in India. So far Zika virus infection is reported in 86 countries and territories.

Zika virus gains global attention in 2015 when an unprecedented outbreak happened in South America where millions where effected. Thousands of babies were born in Brazil with serious birth defects like Microcephaly.

Zika virus is primarily spread by daytime active Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

Signs and symptoms

  • Most of the infected people would not develop any signs or symptoms.
  • Usual symptoms last for 2 -7 days, they are
    • mild fever and headache
    • body rashes,
    • conjunctivitis,
    • muscle pain and fatigue

The incubation period (time from infection to appearance of symptoms) is 3 to 14 days.

Complications of Zika Virus

  • Zika infection during pregnancy can result in various complications for the newborn including microcephaly (small head circumference). It may also result in pregnancy complications such as fetal loss, preterm birth or still birth.
  • Zika infection is known to trigger Guillain-Barre syndrome, neuropathy, and myelitis in adults.

How it Spreads?

Zika virus is primarily spread by daytime active Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. They are most active during early morning and late evening. The same mosquito is responsible for transmitting dengue and Chikungunya.
Zika virus is also spread by sexual contact, blood transfusion, organ transplant and from mother to fetus.

How to Prevent?

Many vaccines against Zika virus are under development but none are available now.

Mosquito bites

The most effective way of prevention is to prevent exposure to mosquito bites.

  • Use long clothes to cover the body
  • Use mosquito repellents to the clothing or skin as the product recommends
  • Using nets and window screens
  • Prevent breeding of mosquito
    • Avoid water collection around homes, workplaces schools etc.
    • Aedes mosquito breeds in small fresh water collection, so clear water collection in small tires, flower pots, trash etc
    • Health officials can use larvicides and insecticides to prevent mosquito breeding

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