Zika virus way back after its detection in 1947 was considered a rare tropical disease having mild symptoms. However, since 2015 and 2016, it has become a concerning health problem especially of tropical countries. Zika has spread in many states of United States and day after day new cases of Zika are emerging. The virus got its name from Zika forest of Uganda from where it was first identified.
Zika virus disease is transmitted by infected female mosquito called aedes ageypti. The virus belongs to genus flavivirus. Zika virus is of same family which is responsible for dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis.People suffering from Zika virus disease have mild fever, skin rash, headache, joint pains, conjunctivitis, weakness etc. These symptoms fade off after a week.
The main worry of this disease is it causes miscarriage and brain abnormality in the fetus if the pregnant woman gets infected with this disease. Treatment consists of plenty of rest, enough fluid intake and antipyretic medicines to treat fever and joint pain.
How Does Zika Virus Spread?
Zika virus primarily is transmitted through a bite of an infected mosquito. Zika virus was first isolated in 1947 is Africa. A specific mosquito called Aedes Aegypti is responsible for spread of this disease.These types of mosquitoes are mainly found in tropical countries. It is the same mosquito that is responsible for spread of dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, chikungunya etc. This mosquito bites during daytime or in late afternoon.
The virus is also transmitted through blood transfusion and sexual intercourse. The disease can affect any individual. People are at greater risk if they are living or traveling in area that has outbreak of this disease. Certain high risk areas of its spread are Island of pacific region, Countries of South and North America, and Africa.
Signs And Symptoms Of Zika Virus Infection
The incubation of Zika virus disease is not exactly known, but experts believe it to be few days. The symptoms are similar to those of dengue fever. The symptoms in majority of cases are mild and many may remain unnoticed. Almost 1 out 5 people infected with Zika virus become sick, the rest may not have any symptoms.
The most characteristic symptoms of Zika virus include, mild to moderate fever, skin rashes, joint and body ache, headache, red eyes, lethargy and tiredness etc. Most of these symptoms are mild and produce discomfort for the patient. They last for 7 to 8 days.
Complication: Zika virus disease as such as is not life threatening, but if a pregnant woman suffer from this disease it may not be good for her as well as for the fetus inside her. Pregnant women suffer from miscarriage and the fetus inside her womb can have microcephaly. Microcephaly is a birth defect in which the brain size is extremely small. Zika virus is also known to trigger neurological disorders such as Guillian Barre syndrome.
Treatment And Prevention Of Zika Virus Infection
There is no specific medicine yet available for treating Zika virus disease. Following certain measures will help the person to recover quickly from the illness.
- Patient has to take enough rest as it will help the body to recover rapidly from the illness.
- He should drink enough water, fluids, juices and soups to prevent dehydration that occurs due to fever.
- Eat foods that are effective in dealing with viral diseases. Include garlic, ginger, lemon, oregano in the food.
- Do not take anti inflammatory and aspirin as it increases the risk of bleeding from body. Fever medicines should be taken after consulting the doctor.
Prevention: Researchers are still unable to find a vaccine for Zika virus for its prevention. Here are some important preventive methods that will help to control the disease.
- Avoid going in the endemic areas.
- Cover your body with full sleeve clothes and long trousers.
- Wear light colored clothes as dark color attracts mosquitoes.
- Keep the surrounding clean.
- Do not allow water to remain stagnant in one place as in pots and utensils. It becomes breeding ground for the mosquitoes.
- Women who are pregnant or planning to conceive should not visit areas that are prone to Zika virus infection.