Zika Virus: A new threat to the people is the Zika virus, a member of the Flaviviridae virus family that causes Zika fever or Zika virus disease. In a recent case, a 5-year-old girl in Karnataka’s Raichur district has been confirmed to have the Zika virus. This is the first confirmed case in a South Indian state. Earlier, a few months ago, similar illnesses were confirmed in Kerala, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh.
What is the Zika Virus?
Zika virus is a member of the Flaviviridae virus family. It is spread by day-active Aedes mosquitoes such as A aegypti and A albopictus. The Zika forest in Uganda, where the virus was first discovered in 1947, gave the disease its name. Dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile virus all belong to the same genus as the Zika virus.
It has been documented since the 1950s to occur within a restricted equatorial belt extending from Africa to Asia. The 2015-2016 Zika virus epidemic was caused by the spread of the virus eastward across the Pacific Ocean to the Americas between 2007 and 2016. The African lineage and the Asian lineage are the two Zika lineages. Some babies are born with microcephaly and other brain defects due to infections during pregnancy. Zika virus has been shown to infect human Schwann cells, and infection in adults has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).
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The Zika Virus Causes the Disease
Female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes primarily spread Zika during the day. Although it is still unclear what the actual range of the vector is. Anopheles costani, Mansonia uniformis and Culex perfuscus Aedes are just a few of the species that carry the Zika virus, although this does not necessarily prove that they are carriers of the disease.
Symptoms of Zika Virus Disease
Zika fever is a disease caused by the Zika virus. About 80% of cases are estimated to be asymptomatic. However, symptoms associated with symptomatic cases include:
- low fever
- red eyes
- joint pain
- Maculopapular rash.
These symptoms of Zika virus disease usually last less than seven days.
Diagnosis of Zika Virus
It is possible to suspect infection with the virus based on symptoms in people who live or travel to areas where the Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito or both. Only the presence of Zika virus RNA in laboratory tests of blood or other body fluids can confirm the diagnosis of Zika virus infection, and it must be differentiated from cross-reactive related flaviviruses, such as dengue virus, with which the patient may have had or had prior exposure vaccination.
Treatment of Zika Virus Disease
There is no specific treatment for Zika virus infection. Get plenty of rest to help relieve symptoms and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Acetaminophen, available over-the-counter (OTC) under Tylenol and other brand names, can reduce fever and joint pain.
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Zika Virus Vaccine
The development of inactivated vaccines and other nonlive vaccines, which are safe for use by pregnant women, has been recommended as a top priority by the World Health Organization. A vaccine against Zika was developed by 18 companies and institutions as of March 2016, but they estimate it won’t be widely accessible for another 10 years.
The FDA first approved human clinical trials for a Zika vaccine in June 2016. A DNA vaccine received approval in March 2017 for phase-2 clinical trials. This vaccine is made of a plasmid, a microscopic circular piece of DNA that expresses the gene. for the Zika virus envelope protein. The vaccine cannot infect humans because it does not contain the complete viral sequence.
Prevention of Zika Virus Disease
Precautionary measures are crucial because there is no vaccine and no specific treatment for Zika virus disease. Check the following details:
- Proper use of condoms and reducing mosquito bites are two methods of prevention where the disease is present.
- Use of insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin.
- Wear clothes with full sleeves and cover your body.
- Eliminate any standing water where mosquitoes can breed.
- Health officials advise pregnant women to postpone getting pregnant or avoid visiting affected areas while there.
- Hospitalization is rarely required.
Meanwhile, don’t go for any kind of rumors and misinformation, unless it comes from an official and authentic source.