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