July 28, 2021
Covid-affected Kerala is now on alert due to the presence of the Zika virus in the state. After a 24-year-old pregnant woman of Thiruvananthapuram was first infected with this virus, 13 other cases have been reported in the state.
While the district administration has been asked to take all measures to deal with this situation, the fear of this viral infection, which is spread by mosquitoes, has developed across the country.
The Zika virus is predominantly transmitted by infected mosquitoes from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti. The Aedes mosquitoes also spread dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. They usually bite during the daytime, mostly during the early morning or later afternoon.
Apart from the mosquitoes, an infected person can also spread the virus. This virus can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to the fetus, through sexual contact, transfusion of blood and blood products, and organ transplantation.
While the symptoms of the Zika virus are mild, in case it gets worse, immediate medical attention is advised. Generally, the symptoms include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, or headache. It lasts for about two to seven days. Most infected people do not develop any symptoms.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Zika virus has no treatment or vaccine. WHO advises the consumption of a lot of fluids along with pain and fever medicines for a speedy recovery.
Zika virus infection in pregnant women can cause congenital abnormalities like microcephaly in the developing fetus or the newborn. It can also be a cause of complications during pregnancy.
In adults, the Zika virus infection triggers Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy and myelitis.
While the government takes mosquito control measures like spraying of pesticides, use of repellents, etc. one can also take such precautions at their own houses.
Being mindful to protect yourself from mosquito bites early in the morning and late afternoon is very important, especially because Zika virus-carrying mosquitoes are more active at that time.
Pregnant women and young children need special protection from the Zika virus as they have more complications from the infection. They should use mosquito nets while sleeping.
As the Zika virus can be transmitted sexually, WHO has advised counselling the masses to minimise the chances of conception during an outbreak of the Zika virus.
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