Recently, prevalence of having zika virus fever have shown an upside graph. Lack of signs and symptoms also pose a problem. Protect yourself and other family members, learn how you can contribute in preventing the spread of zika virus.
What is Zika Virus Fever
Zika fever is caused by a virus, which is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, this mosquito usually bites during the day, peaking during early morning and late afternoon/evening. Aedes mosquito is also responsible for transmitting dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya.
How Zika Virus Can Spread
Zika virus can spread through mosquito bites, it can also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy. Other modes of transmission are a blood transfusion, sexual contact, and organ transplantation.
History of Zika Virus Fever
It was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. Later in 1952, it was identified in humans as well. The first recorded outbreak of zika virus disease was reported from the island of Yap (Federated States of Micronesia) in 2007. In March 2015, an outbreak was identified in Brazil.
Signs and Symptoms of Zika Virus Fever
Signs and symptoms are usually mild and include fever, conjunctivitis (redness in the whites of the eye), muscle pain, malaise, rash, joint pain, and headache. Only 1 in 5 infected people will exhibit symptoms, a vast majority do not present any symptoms. According to CDC, Symptoms can appear between 3 – 14 days after the bite from an infected mosquito. Symptoms normally last for 2 – 7 days. Majority of people with zika virus infection do not develop any symptoms.
But zika virus during pregnancy may cause infants to be born with zika virus syndrome, which includes microcephaly(where babies are born with underdevelopment heads and brain damage), and other congenital malformations. Zika virus may also cause preterm birth, stillbirth, and miscarriage. In adults, zika virus may be associated with certain neurologic complications like Guillain-Barre syndrome (a condition where the immune system attacks nerves), and myelitis.
Diagnosis of Zika Virus Fever
Diagnosis of zika virus infection is based on the symptoms of the patient living in or visiting the area with an outbreak of zika virus infection. Your doctor will ask you about recent travel and any signs and symptoms related to zika virus infection. Confirmation can be done by performing laboratory tests of the blood sample and other body fluids (such as urine and semen) of the patient. Studies have shown that zika virus is also found in saliva and fluids in the eye of the infected person.
What is the Treatment of Zika Virus Fever
Treatment options available for zika virus infection are none, presently there is no vaccine available against zika virus and the symptoms associated with it are mild. Symptoms such as fever, rash, and pain can be treated with common medicines. Get plenty of rest and increase your consumption of fluids to prevent dehydration. Aspirin or any other NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) should be avoided until dengue is ruled out, this will reduce the risk of bleeding. If there is no relief in symptoms and they worsen over time, seek immediate medical care.
Preventive Measures of Zika Virus Fever
There is no vaccine to prevent zika virus. A key measure to prevent zika virus infection is to protect you against mosquito bites. Particularly pregnant women should be given special preventive measures. Couples planning a pregnancy, in near future should consider avoiding areas with active zika transmission. Wear long sleeved clothes and long pant, wear light-colored clothes, covering maximum body parts. Apply insect repellent (which are Environmental Protection Agency registered insect repellent)on exposed body parts. Avoid using insect repellent for babies younger than two months old. Sleep under mosquito nets; keep your windows and doors closed. Eliminate mosquito breeding sites, like – water around homes, school etc. always cover water storage containers, remove standing water and clean up trash and used tires.
Dr Reena Prajapat is a dentist, she post graduated in hospital management from Apollo Institute of hospital Administration, Hyderabad. Her strong belief in natural and home remedies lead her to Pursue bachelor in naturopathy.