Uttar Pradesh has reported a case of the Zika virus, which caused havoc in Kerala a few months ago. The Centre has dispatched a multi-disciplinary team to Kanpur in UP where an Indian Air Force personnel tested positive with Zika on October 23.
The local authorities in Kanpur have formed multiple teams and started implementing precautionary action in the affected person’s his residential area and the workplace.
According to Kanpur chief medical officer (CMO) Nepal Singh said, as many as 22 samples of people the patient came in contact with have been sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune for examination.
What is Zika virus?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Zika virus as a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania, it further said.
The global health body has recorded outbreaks of Zika virus disease in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.
Zika virus is primarily transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti. These mosquitoes usually bite during the day, peaking during early morning and late afternoon/evening.
This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
Zika virus is also transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy, through sexual contact, transfusion of blood and blood products, and organ transplantation.
The symptoms of the disease caused by the Zika virus are mild fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or a headache and usually last for 2–7 days.
The symptoms are very similar to other disease. Zika received special attention after the 2015–2016 outbreak in Brazil.
No vaccine is yet available for the prevention or treatment of Zika virus infection. Development of a Zika vaccine remains an active area of research, according to WHO.
How to prevent yourself from Zika?
Protection against mosquito bites during the day and early evening is a key measure to prevent Zika virus infection. Special attention should be given to prevention of mosquito bites among pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and young children.
The WHO recommends wearing clothing (preferably light-coloured) that covers as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as window screens and closed doors and windows; and applying insect repellent to skin or clothing.
Things to know about Zika virus disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, Zika is linked to birth defects. Its infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly that is a sign of incomplete brain development.
Zika virus infection is also a trigger of Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy and myelitis, particularly in adults and older children. The infection in pregnancy also results in complications such as fetal loss, stillbirth, and preterm birth.
It also said that returning travellers infected with Zika can spread the virus through mosquito bites and sex. The CDC, in one of its advisories, said that even if the travellers do not feel sick, after returning from an area with risk of Zika, they should take steps to prevent mosquito bites for three weeks so they do not spread Zika to uninfected mosquitoes.