‘Zika virus’ is the most heard term in news channels nowadays. The disease associated with this virus is caused by the virus that is transmitted by a type of mosquito called as Aedes mosquito. Generally, people with this disease experience problems like conjunctivitis, skin rash and mild fever and these symptoms generally last for 2-7 days. The problem with this virus is that currently there is no specific treatment or vaccine available according to WHO. However, people can protect themselves from this virus by protecting themselves from mosquito bites. This virus presently circulates in the Pacific, Asia, America and Africa.
Introduction to the virus:
Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus and this is why it is stated to be the presently spreading insect borne diseases. But, this is not something new to the world. It was first identified in the year 1947 in Uganda in thesus monkeys. Subsequently, it was identified in the humans in the year 1952 in the same country and also in the United Republic of Tanzania. This virus belongs to the genre called Flaviviridae or flavivirus and it is spread by the vector called Aedes mosquitoes that generally bite during late afternoon or evening hours and during the morning hours.
What are the signs and symptoms of this virus?
Even though, the incubation period of the disease spread by this virus is not known, it is likely to happen in a few days. Symptoms and signs associated with the spread of this virus are similar to other virus borne diseases like dengue and include headache, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis, skin rashes and fever. Recently, this is commonly found in babies born in northeast Brazil.
How is this virus transmitted?
In general, Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the above-mentioned category of mosquito. This is the mosquito that transmits the other diseases like yellow fever, chikungunya and dengue infections.
Generally, this virus is diagnosed through Polymerase Chain Reaction and virus isolation from blood samples. However, diagnosis by serology can be hard as the virus can easily cross-react with other flaviviruses like yellow fever, West Nile and dengue.
Caution to be taken to prevent:
When it comes to prevention of Zika virus infection, people are recommended to keep away from mosquito breeding sites. It is recommended that mosquito breeding should be controlled and the contact of mosquitoes with people should be avoided. This can be done with the help of insect repellent, wearing light-colored clothing fully covering the entire body. Also, people can consider sleeping under mosquito nets. It is recommended to cover containers with water and water stagnation in flower pots and tires should be avoided in surrounding areas to prevent mosquito breeding. Generally, special protection should be provided to old people, young children and people, who are already sick. Health workers should be requested to spray mosquito repellents all through the residential area to prevent mosquito growth.