Kerala confirmed Zika virus cases; Symptoms, risks, prevention explained

COVID-19 emerged as a global pandemic in 2020, and still, it continues to be a vulnerability to society. India is going through the second phase and soon expects a third Covid wave. Amidst the struggle with Covid-19, the single-stranded RNA virus of the Flaviviridae family Zika Virus is emerging now.

India reported a Zika outbreak in the western state of Gujarat in 2016-17.

Kerala, which has been reporting a surge in coronavirus cases, has officially confirmed its 14 cases of Zika virus so far. Zika can be transmitted through mosquito bites of the Aedes species of mosquitoes. This species is also known to carry and spread dengue. Although the virus is mostly spread by mosquitoes, it can also be sexually transmitted. The virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations. 

Symptoms 

The most common symptoms of the Zika virus in many people include fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and muscle pain. The incubation period of Zika virus disease is estimated to be 3–14 days and the symptoms typically last for 2–7 days. Most people with Zika virus infection do not develop symptoms, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

 Risk

Zika is most likely to have an adverse impact on fetuses of pregnant women. During pregnancy, the infection can cause severe birth defects of the brain in the developing fetus. The most common among these defects is microcephaly. It is also linked to other problems, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and other birth defects.

Prevention and treatment

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. Avoiding mosquito bites reduces the severity. This can be done by wearing full sleeve clothes to protect ourselves. And mosquito nets and door screens can also be done at home. Special attention should be given to prevent mosquito bites among pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and young children, says WHO. Drinking lots of water, and taking rest are the things which people with symptoms can do. If there is pain and fever, then treat with common medicines.

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