Article Categories Health-and-Fitness Diseases

10 Things You Should Know About The Zika Virus


By: Abhishek Kumar


Suddenly the whole world is stormed by another "dangerous" virus and the scare wave begins in the nation. Find out what you need to know about this below.

#1. The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease, that is transmitted when an infected person is bit by a mosquito and then it bites you. Not every mosquito, but only a female Aedes aegypti can cause the illness. These are the silent mosquitoes that bite during the day (mornings late afternoons & evenings), are bigger than the male mosquitoes & are trained to attack humans in our own houses.

#2. Countries or areas exposed to the virus should be avoided. Avoid mosquito infestation near your residence and at work. But the latest development also has it, that it can be sexually transmitted from an affected person.

#3. An illness from the Zika virus affects only 1 in 5 people who may notice a feeling of lethargy with joint pains, head ache, pink eye (conjunctivitis) and red, itchy rashes all over the body. This may or may not include fever but fever-like symptoms like body malaise maybe present. These may last for 2-7 days if and when present.

#4. The Zika virus can be detected via PCR testing in blood, but this maybe difficult to isolate since it resembles the Dengue and other flavi viruses. Diagnosis is only via doctor's suspicion and the history, including travel to exposed areas.

#5. Pregnant women are most at risk, because in them the virus settles in the brains of babies and causes serious birth defects like a small head(microcephaly) and brain damage(mental retardation).
Hence, care is advised when travelling to endemic areas, or when pregnant women are exposed to mosquito-prone areas. Avoid bites and watch out for any signs of the infection. Better yet, avoid pregnancy for the next 1 year.

#6. Indians however have already been exposed to this much earlier and hence in most of us it is possible to fight it off naturally. This is because of the 1952 breakout that affected the population and could've led to a passive immunity up to this generation.

#7. No vaccine has yet released, though India is in the testing phase to make 2 forms of active & inactive vaccines preventing it, so the only way to avoid a transmission would be to avoid a mosquito bite.

#8. Ways to avoid this would be to wear fully covered pants and long-sleeved shirts, socks and protect against bites with a mosquito-repellent cream or vaporizers.

#9. Sleep in closed rooms, with windows and doors shut and use mosquito nets if in the open. Eliminate breeding spaces for mosquitoes like standing water in buckets or pots because mosquitoes lay eggs in walls of wet objects, which can hatch in a week and mature.

#10. A single mosquito can cause an outbreak in your community by laying eggs of infected larvae. Deaths are rare by this, hospitalization also may not be required. Most patients infected do not even realize they are carrying the virus since it does not produce any symptoms.

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