During the last few decades, a number of arthropod-borne viruses have started affecting mankind in major ways. From being unknown to people in most of its initial years and now explosively affecting the masses, these viruses have captured quite a bit attention from the governments all around the world – And amidst all this flavivirus emergence, one such commonly discussed case is of Zika Virus!
Zika has now become one of the most deadliest viruses, which is primarily transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which is active during the day. It is a mosquito-borne flavivirus, which was first isolated in Uganda in 1947, when yellow fever was being tested in monkeys. Since then, its outbreaks have been highly active in Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, other African countries and in the Americas as well.
With Zika spreading at a consistent pace all around the world, the level of concern is high, and so is the level of uncertainty. Questions abound – People are constantly on the lookout for some answers regarding what triggers it, symptoms, modes of transmission, treatments etc.
How is Zika caused?
Zika being predominantly found in the tropical areas, is easily transmitted to individuals through the bite of a tainted mosquito from the Aedes species. Aedes are day-active mosquitoes, which transmit the Dengue and Chikungunya viruses also. It does not exhibit any critical signs in a patient and the transmission is extremely anticipatory. In the vast majority of the cases, Sexual transmission of Zika infection goes with higher credibility and in others, it could be blood transfusion, or mosquito bite in a pregnant woman to her fetus.
What are its symptoms?
One of the things that makes Zika very difficult to track is the fact that in the vast majority of cases, the patients show no dire symptoms at all. Most people who get infected don’t even realize it – and therefore never seek medical attention. Which is why, it is important to know the basic symptoms which take place during the initial period of incubation- Such as:
|The incubation period of Zika virus disease is not clear, but these symptoms can normally last for 3-7 days|
How is it diagnosed?
Infection with Zika might be suspected in light of side effects and history of travel (e.g. home in, or go to a territory with dynamic Zika infection transmission). A conclusion of Zika infection must be affirmed through research center tests based on blood or other body liquids, such as urine, salivation or semen. In this case, RNA NAT (Nucleic acid testing) should be performed on paired serum and urine specimens. And for symptomatic pregnant women with possible exposure to Zika Virus, NAT should be performed concurrently with IgM serology.
Why Zika is an urgent concern in case of Pregnant women?
The effects of Zika Virus on a fetus can be extremely severe in case of a pregnant woman. This infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defect, namely microcephaly (A medical condition in which the brain does not develop properly resulting in a smaller than normal head) and other fetal brain defects in newborn kids.
“Since 2015, almost 4000 cases in Brazil have been detected in pregnant women which lead to microcephaly due to zika virus.”
Is there any existing treatment for Zika?
No. Until recently, Zika didn’t appear to pose a lot of a risk to human well being, so the research on the infection has been quite limited. This outbreak has prodded financing and consideration on Zika science, and the WHO has called for specialists to build up an antibody for Zika and additionally better diagnostic testing to detect the infection.
But yes, for those individuals who have already been infected with the Zika virus ought to get a lot of rest, drink enough liquids, and treat pain and fever with basic medications. On the off chance that side effects may intensify, they should seek routine medical care and counsel to avoid the condition from worsening.
What are the preventive measures for Zika?
Protection against mosquito bites is a key measure to prevent Zika. So, it is important to:
- Use physical barriers such as window screens or closing doors and windows.
- Pregnant women should not to travel to areas where Zika is circulating.
- Pregnant women’s partners returning from Zika-infected areas should practice safer sex or abstain from sex throughout the pregnancy.
- Cover, empty or clean potential mosquito breeding sites in and around houses such as buckets, drums, pots, gutters, and used tyres.
- Remember that mosquitoes that spread Zika virus may be more likely to bite during daytime hours – So, make sure to be more cautious during the day.
- Apply insect repellents and reapply as directed. And if pregnant, then check with your doctor about what kinds of repellents are safe to use in pregnancy.
- Avoid the use of scented skin care products, which might lead to rash or other skin infections (hence increasing the vulnerability factor).
Diseases like Zika Virus Infection are alarming enough to pose a deadly threat. Which is why, it is important to have regular discussions and health checkups with your health experts. With WEMA Life you find all the care, health and wellbeing services you need as we connect you with vetted and trusted service providers and guide you through a simple search and booking process where you can even pay online.