Zika Virus has been declared as “public health emergency of international concern” by WHO. It has affected 22 countries across Central and South America and is rapidly spreading to grab other countries in Asia-Pacific as well. In January 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued travel guidance on affected countries, including the use of enhanced precautions, and guidelines for pregnant women including considering postponing travel. On February 2, 2016, Dallas County Health and Human Services confirmed the first case of transmission in the United States.
However, until now, not a single case of Zika virus has been registered in India. This does not mean, India is not vulnerable to the infection. The national center for disease control in India is already on a high alert and is getting equipped with laboratory diagnostic research and findings to fight the disease is reported.
The worrisome news for India is that the carrier mosquito of this disease, which is Aedes mosquito is found in every part of India and India with a poor mosquito control scenario stands vulnerable to the disease. Anyone entering the country infected with this virus can spread the disease through Aedes mosquito bites. And the worst part is that we still don’t have any medication or vaccine available for this disease. However, with online activities and awareness campaigns, people can be made aware of the condition and the precautions they can take.
Symptoms of Zika virus Infection:
- 80% of people remain asymptomatic because the symptoms are not very severe. However, it is marked with continuing mild fever, skin rashes, and conjunctivitis. The person may also experience headaches and muscle and joint pains.
- These symptoms are similar to other diseases spread by the same vector as chikungunya and dengue. The symptoms usually last for 2 to 7 days.
- A pregnant woman infected with Zika virus may result in having a child with birth defects and a condition known as microcephaly.
Diagnosis of Zika Virus
Zika virus is diagnosed through a blood test like a polymerase chain reaction and virus isolation.
Prevention of Zika Virus
The Indian government is cautious about the situation and is taking ample care to prevent the spread of this disease by stopping them right at the entry points like international airports.
Nonetheless, everyone personally should try to take preventive measure to ensure they do not get infected by Zika. What all you can do?
- Do not let water stagnate in and around you. It will breed mosquito which are the carriers of the virus.
- Try to keep the body covered with full-sleeve dresses to avoid any contact with mosquitos.
- Use mosquito repellant body creams and liquids to keep mosquitos away.
- Use mosquito nets while sleeping which ensures complete protection against the mosquitos.
Safety at each level is important and we are answerable to our own safety. So, be cautious, take precaution, and be healthy.