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Last Updated: Jan 10, 2023

What is ZIKA VIRUS? Is it Deadlier than Dengue? Is India Ready To Face the ZIKA

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Dr. Himanshu ShekharInternal Medicine Specialist • 17 Years Exp.Post Graduate Diploma in Hospital and Healthcare Management, MD - Physician, , Fellowship Critical Care Management
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What You Must Know About ZIKA VIRUS

Introduction to the ZIKA VIRUS:

After the deadly Yellow Fever and Ebola pandemics, Zika Virus is yet another disease borne out of the African soil and spreading across the world right now. Named after the Zika forest in Uganda, where it originated, this virus spreads through a mosquito bite - that of ‘aedes aegypti’ mosquito. It can also be passed on from mother to child, blood transfusion and sex.

What’s so deadly about ‘Aedes Aegypti’ Mosquito?

Zika Virus spreads via ‘aedes aegypti’ mosquito, same mosquito that also spreads Dengue and Chikungunya.These mosquitoes typically lay eggs in and near still water found in buckets, bowls, animal dishes, flower pots and vases. They are aggressive daytime biters, prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people.
These mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites.

Symptoms of Zika Virus Attack
A person bit by an infected mosquito takes about 2-7 days to show symptoms like:
- Mild fever
- Skin Rash
- Conjunctivitis
- Muscle and joint pain
- Weakness and Fatigue

However, it lasts no more than a week and is usually milder than its cousins Dengue or Chikungunya. Although it is not a fatal disease, the real reason behind the panic is for the women who are pregnant. Zika is found to be a major cause of microcephaly – a birth defect due to which children are born with visibly smaller heads, severely limiting their mental and physical abilities.

Should India Worry?

While it originated in the African continent, Zika has already taken South American countries like Brazil, and most others. Although the virus hasn’t reached Indian shores yet, we are very prone to mosquito borne diseases. The Dengue menace since last few years says it all. Since it is from the same family, we need to be all the more cautious.

Preventions and Precautions:

Since no vaccine exists to prevent Zika virus attack, it’s best to act with caution to prevent the spread.

1. Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime. Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
2. Use Mosquito Repellents during the day when exposed to areas prone to mosquitoes and cover yourself very well.
3. Never allow water to stagnate in or around your habitation. Avoid letting the water stand for long eg: puddles, or water in buckets or potted plants, sewage etc.