Zika virus enters India: Know causes, symptoms and precautionary measures to prevent infection

Three cases of Zika Virus have been reported in Bapunagar area, Ahmedabad including a pregnant lady tested this January. The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed the first three cases of Zika virus in India. In order to prevent infection, it is necessary to know how it is transmitted, its symptoms and precautionary measures to be taken.

What is Zika?

It is a virus transmitted by Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes. It is the same mosquitoes that are responsible for transmitting dengue and chikungunya. It derives its name from Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947.

Effects of Zika virus

In pregnant women, Zika virus causes birth defects such as microcephaly. In microcephaly, baby’s head is small than normal which is due to underdevelopment of brain. In adult, Zika infection may result in Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder.

Presently, there is neither any treatment nor any vaccine for the infection.

Is it a concern for India?

As the climate of India is fertile for the Aedes Egypti mosquito, it can multiply leading to an outbreak situation in the country.

How Zika virus is transmitted?

  • When these mosquitoes bite an infected person, it can take virus and when the same mosquito bites a healthy person, Zika virus gets transmitted.
  • Zika Virus can also be transmitted through sexual contacts.
  • It can be transmitted by blood transfusion, organ transplant operation etc.
  • Mother to baby transmission is also possible during pregnancy, delivery and breast-feeding.

Symptoms of Zika virus

  • Conjunctivitis
  • Skin rashes
  • Mild fever
  • Muscular or joint pain
  • Headache

However, 80% of the infected persons do not experience any of these symptoms at all.

Precautionary measures to prevent infection

  • As Aedes Aegyti mosquitoes breeds in fresh water, either cover or drain the things that can hold water.
  • Wear dress that covers most part of the body and save exposure to skin.
  • Use mosquito repellent while going out.
  • While sleeping in exposed area, use mosquito net.