What is Zika Virus? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Precautions and More

A five-year-old girl from Karnataka was confirmed to be infected with the Zika virus, the mosquito-borne disease on Monday. Check its causes, symptoms, treatment, precautions, and more.
What is Zika Virus?
What is Zika Virus?

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 5-year-old girl in the Raichur district of Karnataka has been confirmed as having the Zika virus by a recent case. The first confirmed case in the southern Indian state is this one. Prior to this, a few months ago, similar illnesses were confirmed in Kerala, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh.

Dr. K Sudhakar, the minister of health, said "The government is closely observing the situation as this is the first instance in the state. To handle it, our department is well-equipped ".

Dr. NK Arora, the head of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), stated on Tuesday that India needs to be prepared to combat the Zika virus in the event of a "outbreak."

However, are you aware of the Zika Virus Disease? If not, read on to learn more about the symptoms, causes, treatments, diagnoses, precautions, and more.

What is Zika Virus?

A member of the Flaviviridae virus family is the zika virus. Aedes mosquitoes that are active during the day, like A. aegypti and A. albopictus, spread 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 all belong to the same genus as the Zika virus.

It has been documented to happen within a constrained equatorial belt stretching from Africa to Asia since the 1950s. The Zika virus epidemic of 2015–2016 was caused by the virus' eastward spread across the Pacific Ocean to the Americas between 2007 and 2016. The African lineage and the Asian lineage are the two Zika lineages.

Some babies are born with microcephaly and other brain malformations due to infection during pregnancy. The 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 unclear what the vectors' actual range is. Anopheles coustani, Mansonia uniformis, and Culex perfuscus are just a few of the Aedes species that have been found to carry the zika virus, though this does not necessarily prove that they are the disease's vectors.

According to reports, Zika is more likely to be restricted to tropical regions than dengue because it may be affected by changes in precipitation and temperature to a greater extent. However, as global temperatures rise, the disease vector's range will be able to extend further north, allowing Zika to follow. Other transmission methods include:

  • Both men and women can transmit the Zika virus to their sexual partners, and the majority of cases in which this happens are between symptomatic men and women.
  • The Zika virus can spread during pregnancy, during delivery, or through vertical transmission.
  • Following confirmation that Zika can spread through blood transfusions, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised screening blood donors and postponing high-risk donors for 4 weeks.

Symptoms of Zika Virus Disease

Zika fever is an illness caused by the Zika virus. Around 80% of cases are estimated to be asymptomatic. However Symptomatic cases include the signs involved:

  • Mild Fever
  • Red Eyes
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Maculopapular rash. 

These symptoms of Zika Virus Disease last for less than seven days, generally.

Also read about the symptoms of Avian Flu.

Diagnosis of Zika Virus Disease

Based on the symptoms of people who reside in or travel to areas where the Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes or both, it is possible to suspect an 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 it must be distinguished from cross-reactive related flaviviruses like dengue virus, to which the patient may have been exposed or previously immunized.

Treatment for Zika Virus Disease

There is no specific treatment for Zika virus infection. Get lots of rest to help with symptom relief, and drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. Acetaminophen, which is available over-the-counter (OTC) under the brand names Tylenol and others, may reduce fever and joint pain.

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Vaccine for Zika Virus Disease

According to Dr. Arora, "Zika virus is something which is something like a priority virus for which both preventive measures have to be taken. There are efforts now to develop a Zika vaccine in this country and we are hopeful we will be among the first few countries where the vaccine will be available."

"We should be ready in any case of an outbreak or difficulty because if pregnant women get infected, the fetus can be affected also," NTAGI Chief added.

The development of inactivated vaccines and other nonlive vaccines, which are safe to use in pregnant women, has been recommended as a top priority by the World Health Organization.

A vaccine against Zika was being developed by 18 companies and institutions as of March 2016, but they estimate it won't be widely accessible for another 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 made up of a plasmid, a microscopic circular piece of DNA that expresses the genes for the Zika virus envelope proteins. The vaccine cannot infect people because it does not contain the entire viral sequence.

Prevention for Zika Virus Disease

Precautionary measures are crucial because the Zika virus disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment. Check the following details:

  • Using condoms properly and reducing mosquito bites in areas where the disease is present are two methods of prevention.
  • use of insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin.
  • Wear clothing with full sleeves and cover your body.
  • Eliminate any stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Health officials advise pregnant women to postpone getting pregnant or to avoid visiting affected areas while they are there.
  • Rarely is hospital admission required.

Meanwhile, do not go for any kind of rumors and misinformation, until and unless it comes from an official and authentic source.


How to avoid Zika Virus?

The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

How serious is Zika Virus?

Zika virus disease is generally mild, whereas severity and deaths are uncommon.

How serious is Zika Virus?

Zika virus disease is generally mild, whereas severity and deaths are uncommon.

How is Zika Virus caused?

Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.

Is Zika Virus still around?

Yes, a 5-year-old girl is found Zika positive in Karnataka.

What happens if you get the Zika Virus?

Zika can cause birth defects and is linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome.
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