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Zika Virus

The symptoms of zika virus are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue.
Zika or Zee-ka is a mosquito borne viral disease. It is prevalent in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. The symptoms of Zika virus include mild fever, rash, muscle pain, headache, red eyes (conjunctivitis) and physical discomfort. The fall-out of zika virus is disastrous for pregnant women and evident as miscarriage, microcephaly (congenital brain condition) and Guillain Barre Syndrome (neurological disorder). Prevention of zika virus depends on preventing mosquito bites and reducing mosquito habitats.

CAUSES

Zika virus is transmitted by the infected Aedes species mosquito. First identified in the Zika Valley of Africa in 1947, zika virus spread rampantly in Africa, southeastern and southern Asia. Later, it also spread to South America. Though zika virus is predominantly spread by mosquito bites, its spread by coitus and blood transfusion has also been recorded.

Zika Virus

SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of zika virus begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The symptoms may not be uniform in different people. However, some of the common symptoms of zika virus include mild fever, joint or muscle pain, rash, headache and red eyes (conjunctivitis).

RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS

People travelling to areas with zika virus outbreak and men having unprotected coitus with infected pregnant women are equally at greater risk of this infection. The complications of zika virus have a disastrous fall-out on human health which includes, miscarriage, microcephaly (congenital brain condition) and Guillain Barre Syndrome (neurological disorder).

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor questions about your travel history, life style and coital partners. Pregnant women who travelled to areas affected by zika virus are tested two to twelve weeks after return. For pregnant women, the gynaec specialist may advise for an ultrasound to detect microcephaly or other abnormalities of the fetal brain. In some instances, the amniotic fluid is drawn from the uterus of pregnant women and sent for zika virus screening.

PREVENTION

Treatment for zika virus focuses on relieving the symptoms. Zika virus can be checked only by taking certain preventive measures like avoiding mosquito bites, avoiding travel to zika virus infected regions, using condoms to reduce the chances of getting zika from coitus, and availing only safe blood transfusion at recognized and reputed blood banks.