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Zika virus: Symptoms, treatment & prevention

Economic Times
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Zika, a mosquito-borne virus, is prompting worldwide concern because of its alarming connection to a neurological birth disorder. Zika virus infection is a mild febrile viral illness transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Dengue and chikungunya spread through the same mosquitoes that transfer Zika. So far, the virus has been spread over at least 24 countries across the globe and Brazil has seen the highest number of people affected. Saliha Nasline lists some facts.

  • Zika virus is mainly transmitted to humans through mosquitoes
  • These mosquitoes live around buildings in urban areas
  • They are usually active during day time
  • Peak biting activity occurs in early mornings and late afternoons
  • Virus can be transmitted through blood transfusion and sexual transmission (though this is yet to be confirmed)
  • Transmission happens from a pregnant mother to her child too
  • Incubation period is between two and seven days

Symptoms

  • Around 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill
  • Low grade fever (less than 38.5 degree Celsius)
  • Other symptoms are rash, joint pain, red eye, muscle pain and headache
  • Illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for a week
  • Digestive problems and constipation

Diagnosis

  • Symptoms of Zika are similar to dengue and chikungunya
  • See the doctor if you develop any of the symptoms described above
  • If you have travelled recently, a check-up is inevitable
  • This may include blood, urine and saliva tests to look for the virus

Treatment

  • There’s no vaccine or specific antiviral drug treatment for Zika yet
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Take medicines to reduce fever

Tips for Prevention

  • Reducing breeding of mosquitoes
  • Cutting contact between mosquitoes and people
  • Checking adult mosquito numbers
  • Using barriers like repellents, insect screens, closed doors and windows
  • Space spraying of insecticides during outbreak recommended
  • People travelling to high-risk areas should avoid the trip or take precautions, including use of repellents, wearing light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and full pants to keep mosquitoes away

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Is it fatal?

Zika is not fatal, but it may pose a risk to pregnant women’s foetuses.

Where is Zika now?

Brazil has the highest rate of transmission. The Zika virus is also being locally transmitted in Barbados, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, Samoa, the US Virgin Islands and Venezuela.

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Why is It so Serious?

Zika virus is a fl avivirus; it comes from the same family as the virus which causes yellow fever. It has alarming connection with a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads.

Published: 29 Jan, 2016 By Economic Times
Copyright © 2016 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.

 

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