Zika Virus Disease
What is Zika Virus Disease?
It is an infection caused by a virus named Zika. It is named after the Zika forest in Uganda, where the virus was first discovered in 1947.
How Zika Virus spreads?
Zika virus spreads:
- mostly by a mosquito bite (same mosquito which spreads dengue fever and chikungunya virus). These mosquitoes usually feed during the day.
- from pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth
- through sexual contact
- through blood transfusions
- exposure in laboratory
Zika virus don’t spread through breastfeeding.
Outbreaks of Zika Virus
Outbreaks of Zika virus have been reported in the United States, Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, parts of the Caribbean, and Central South America, Brazil, Mexico
What are the symptoms of Zika infection?
4 out of 5 people infected with Zika virus will not show any symptom. Symptoms are usually seen 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Most common symptoms include:
- Fever associated with rash
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Muscle pain
Symptoms are usually mild. These lasts for a few days to a week before going away entirely.
How Zika Virus is detected?
Your doctor may ask for a blood test to check for Zika. Your doctor may test you for other viruses spread by mosquitoes, such as dengue and chikungunya.
What treatment options are available?
There is no treatment for Zika. Only symptomatic treatment is done to relieve symptoms. It include:
- Keeping yourself hydrated.
- Getting plenty of rest.
- Take acetaminophen to relieve pain and fever.
Disclaimer: Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or any other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) until your doctor confirms that you do not have dengue. These medicines can cause bleeding in people infected with dengue.
What are the complications of Zika Infection?
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a rare condition in the baby called microcephaly. In this condition babies born with a smaller than normal head. In some people, Zika Virus infection can cause Guillain-Barré syndrome.
How to prevent Zika Virus Infection?
Zika virus infection can be prevented by doing mosquito control. Mosquito bite can be avoided by adopting following measures:
- Cover your body with long sleeves, long pants, socks, and a hat
- Use permethrin coated clothing
- Don’t allow water collection in buckets, flower pots, unused tires etc
- Use a mosquito net if sleeping outside
Is there any vaccine available for Zika Virus?
Currently, there is no vaccine available to protect against Zika virus infection.