Zika virus in Kerala: Symptoms, prevention, cure - all you need to know

In the first case of Zika virus in Kerala, a 24-year-old pregnant woman has been diagnosed with the mosquito transmitted disease, State Health Minister Veena George informed on Thursday. In the wake of such situation, health minister Veena George has declared statewide alert. All samples tested positive for the Zika virus were collected from the Thiruvananthapuram district and sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.

The National Institute of Virology (NIV) had successfully isolated the Zika virus for the very first time in November of 2018. In India, the first local outbreak of Zika virus was reported in Ahmedabad in January 2017 and the second in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district in July, 2017.

Now that a case has been detected in Kerala, here's a look at symptoms, prevention and treatment of Zika Virus.

How does Zika virus spread?

Zika virus spreads mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, which bites during the day. Aedes mosquitoes are the same that transmit dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals infected with the Zika virus can also transmit the disease to their sex partners.

What are symptoms of Zika virus?

The symptoms for the mosquito-borne disease include mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. The incubation period of Zika virus disease is estimated to be 3–14 days and the symptoms typically last for 2–7 days. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most people with this virus infection do not develop symptoms.

The symptoms of Zika are similar to dengue including skin rashes and joint pain.

What is prevention and treatment for Zika virus?

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for virus and so the development of the Zika vaccine still remains an active area of research. The UN health agency advises people with symptoms to get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and “treat pain and fever with common medicines.

The virus infection can only be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites. Special attention should be given to prevent mosquito bites among pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and young children, advices WHO.

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