Zika virus causes a deadly disease called Zika fever or Zika virus disease that spreads by the bite of the Aedes mosquito. The Zika virus is a member of the virus family FLAVIVIRIDAE and is closely related to the dengue, yellow fever, Japanese Encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. It was isolated in the Zika forest of Uganda in 1947 and is known to be prevalent in continents like Africa and Asia primarily, though it’s slowly making headway in the developed world and has spawned the deadly 2015-2016 Zika virus epidemic.
What are symptoms of Zika fever?
People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms which are similar to Dengue, like-
These symptoms usually last for 2-7 days.
Complications of Zika virus disease
According to WHO, Zika virus infection during pregnancy causes congenital brain abnormalities like microcephaly. And the infection can also trigger the Guillain-Barré syndrome. Microcephaly is a condition where a child is born with a small head or the head stops growing after birth and the Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare condition in which a person’s immune system attacks the peripheral nerves which control muscle movement and sensation.
Even as we read this, intense efforts are being expended to investigate the link between Zika virus and a number of other neurological disorders.
How does Zika spread?
The causes of Zika are:
How can you prevent Zika infection?
Protection against mosquito bites is the most foolproof ways to prevent a Zika virus infection. Other ways to prevent Zika infection via mosquito bites are:
For stemming sexual transmission of Zika, the WHO recommends that sexually active men and women be counselled to practice safe sex using condoms. WHO also recommends that people who have come back after travelling from Zika virus zones should be extremely careful in practising safe sex or abstinence for the first 6 months at least, for preventing a pregnancy.
If affected, what is the treatment?
Zika virus disease is usually mild and requires no specific treatment as such.
Infected people are advised plenty of rest, asked to drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines like Ibuprofen. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a General Physician.