The Zika virus is a type of virus that spreads primarily through mosquito bites.People infected by this virus generally don't have any signs or symptoms. The Zika virus may cause nervous system complications in rare cases. Infection of Zika virus is also known as Zika, Zika fever, or Zika virus disease. Pregnant women have an increased risk of miscarriage if they caught the virus or it can also affect the baby. A baby born in such a condition may have serious birth defects like microcephaly, which is a fatal brain condition.
Till now, the Zika virus has infected more than 60 people in Kerala, and it has also been found in citizens of Maharashtra. The first case in Kerala was reported on 8th July, the virus had infected a pregnant lady in Kerala. There is no vaccine available for the virus as reported. Therefore, the best way to keep yourself safe is by avoiding mosquitoes.
How does the virus spread and transmit?
Zika virus is similar to yellow fever and dengue fever. It is generally spread by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Aedes mosquitoes mostly bite during the day, like during the early morning or late afternoon. The virus can also be transmitted from one person to another through sexual contact, organ transplantation, and transfusion of blood and its products. It can also be pass on from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
What are the symptoms of the virus?
It is found that 4 out of 5 people infected by the Zika virus don't have any sign or symptom of the virus. According to WHO, if symptoms occur, it shows 3 to 14 days after the person is infected. Most of the people infected by the virus don't have to be hospitalized, it took them only 1 week to be fully recovered. The most common symptoms of the virus are mild fever, joint pain, Rash, and red eyes(conjunctivitis). Other symptoms may include muscle pain, eye pain, headache, and abdominal pain.
How to prevent Zika Virus?
As it is mentioned above, there is no vaccine for the Zika virus. But, you may take precautions to decrease your risk of exposure to the virus. Following steps should be taken if you are residing or traveling to a place where there is an outbreak of the Zika virus:
· Stay in a well-screened or air-conditioned house - Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus can be active at night. Therefore, keep your house well-screened, this shall prevent the mosquitoes from entering the house.
· Insect repellent - To avoid mosquitoes, wear clothes and shoes, apply permethrin. You can also apply permethrin on your camping gear and bed netting. Use a repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or any other ingredient which can be effective against mosquitoes and also registered with the Environmental Protection Agency.
· Reduce mosquito habitat - Mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus typically live near our homes and breed in still water.Therefore, make sure to empty any source of still water near your locality so that the population of the mosquito can be decreased.