Zika Viral Infection- What is it?

As I was scrolling down the Facebook page on my phone, I came across a news on Image Khabar, which shocked me. It said that the World Health Organization (WHO) had warned the Americans not to conceive children. I also saw something new- Zika virus. (I first thought Jika because the news is in Nepali!) I immediately googled to get some information on it.

The Zika virus was first discovered in the rhesus monkeys in the year 1947 in the Zika forest of Uganda. The monkey in which the virus was discovered had suffered from mild fever. The first reported case in humans was in 1952 from Uganda and Tanzania. Since then, the disease was believed to be a mild one but the WHO now classifies it as an “emerging” disease. Recent outbreaks have occurred at French Polynesia (2013) and Brazil (2015).

Mode of Transmission
The disease transmits through the vector Aedes aegyptii, the mosquito also responsible for dengue. Recently, it has also been found to have transmitted sexually.

According to the WHO, the symptoms are similar to that of Dengue. Mild fever, rashes on the skin, conjunctivitis, headache lasting for 2-7 days are the major symptoms. In children, microcephaly occurs hampering the mental growth. The virus can be detected on blood culture.

There is no vaccines or medicines developed for the treatment of the disease. Paracetamol can be used for the symptoms above.

The WHO has warned that the disease might spread fast in the USA and in the peripheral nations. It has also warned of pregnancy during the outbreak of the disease.

Adaptation and evolution of the vector and the virus is spreading a “new” disease as an epidemic every year. Last year, it was Ebola, this year it is Zika. There might be another outbreak next year. The WHO and the media should be active to spread information about the recent outbreaks. Had the WHO not warned the USA, no one would have known about the disease. This situation should be changed. There should be an immediate breaking news once an outbreak is known. Preventive measures should be taken before the disease turns into an epidemic.

1. www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/
2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zika_virus
3. mobile.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/health/two-cases-suggest-zika-virus-could-be-spread-through-sex.html


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