By Dr. Major Gen. K S Rao, Pediatrics
Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that is common in tropical and subtropical areas. It is caused by the daytime active Aedes Aegypti mosquito. It was first identified in the Zika Valley of South Africa in 1947 and is now making its presence felt actively in Brazil. People are recommended to avoid traveling to places where the virus has widely spread, especially pregnant women as a bite from the Aedes mosquito can lead to miscarriage or severe complications in the new born child.
Causes of Zika Virus
•Zika virus spreads with a bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. When a mosquito bites a person, he or she can get infected by the Zika virus. It then spreads to another person if the infected mosquito bites the other one as well.
•At the time of pregnancy from the mother to the child
Symptoms of Zika Virus
Research shows that it is very difficult to locate signs of this virus. 1 out of 5 people report the signs of it and that too after 2 to 7 days after the being infected. Following are the some of the symptoms of Zika virus-
•Partial or complete paralysis
•Joint or muscle pain
•Red eyes (conjunctivitis)
Currently no vaccines exist for its treatment nor is there any antiviral treatment. Resting, medications and increasing your intake of fluids can be used as measures to overcome the joint pain and fever caused by this virus. Taking precautions while you are travelling to the areas affected by the Zika virus is another way of preventing this virus from infecting you. Try to cover your entire body by wearing long sleeves and pants and use insect repellent containing DEET so that you do not get bitten by the mosquito.