Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Zika Virus in India

Zika Virus in India

#GS1 #Health related issues #GS3 #Disaster and Disaster Management

Context: Recently, Zika Virus Disease (ZVD) was reported for the first time in Kerala.

Key Details:

  • 15 cases of Zika Virus Disease is reported in Thiruvananthapuram district.
  • While the first case identified was a 24-year-old pregnant woman, subsequent cases have been reported largely among health workers.
  • Alerts have been sent to keep a close eye on cases of mosquito bites, and conduct necessary fumigation drives.

What is Zika Virus?

  • Zika is a viral infection, spread by mosquitoes.
  • It was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.
  • Sporadic cases have been reported throughout the world since the 1960s, but the first outbreak happened only in 2007 in the Island of Yap in the Pacific.
  • In 2015, a major outbreak in Brazil led to the revelation that Zika can be associated with microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with small and underdeveloped brains.
  • The vector is the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue, Yellow fever and chikungunya.
  • Additionally, infected people can transmit Zika sexually.
  • Zika virus is also transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy, transfusion of blood and blood products, and organ transplantation.

Symptoms:

  • Most people infected with the virus do not develop symptoms.
  • When they are manifested, symptoms are generally mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.
  • The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of Zika virus disease is estimated to be 3-14 days.
  • The US National Institutes of Health study estimated the fatality rate at 8.3 per cent following the studies on confirmed Cases in Brazil in 2017.
Zika Virus in India
Zika Virus in India

Is Zika Dangerous?

  • Generally, the virus is not considered dangerous to anyone other than pregnant women.
  • Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly (smaller than normal head size) and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome.
  • Many countries with Zika outbreak, reported a steep increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome
    • A neurological disorder that could lead to paralysis and death.

Treatment:

  • There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. Instead, the focus is on relieving symptoms and includes rest, rehydration and acetaminophen for fever and pain.

Zika virus in India:

  • In India, Zika virus was first recorded in 1952-53.
  • The latest major outbreak was in 2018, when 80 cases were reported in Rajasthan around the months of September and October.
  • Prior to this, three cases were detected in Bapunagar area in Gujarat’s Ahmedabad district in May 2017.
  • One case was also reported from Krishnagiri district on Tamil Nadu in July 2017.

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