ZIKA virus can cause birth defects

ZIKA virus can cause birth defects
Posted 21 Jul 2021 | Source: The HANS INDIA

ZIKA virus spreads through bites aegypti  and aedes  albopiticus   mosquitoes that are primarily active during the day. The virus can be transmitted from pregnant woman  to her fetus which in turn can cause birth defects and impact the new-borns.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continue to age in the country, the new and re-emerging pathogen has threatened the health and security of several lives. Therefore, before the infection turns into a double Whammy  during the pandemic, it has become extremely critical for the population at large to understand and adopt the various control measures to restrict the spread of the  disease.

With several cases of Zika  virus now being detected in kerala, it still does not have a  specific treatment  or vaccine  and the development of the  vaccine remains an active area of research. The UN health agency advise people with symptoms to get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and “treat pain and fever with common medicines.“ Zika virus infection can only be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites. According to WHO, attention should be given to prevent mosquito bites among pregnant women, women of reproductive age , and young children, says WHO.

The first visible of Zika is fever, that is much like dengue. Due to this many people often confuse the symptoms of Zika with that of flu and hence, they do not know whether or not they have contracted Zika.

If someone has fever, running nose, headache and rashes which persists for over a week, it’s important for them to get tested as soon as possible.

Other symptoms of the disease include conjunctivitis, muscle and join pain, headache starting two to seven days of exposure to the disease, autoimmune  infections in rare cases, body ache, rashes, eye congestion and myagia and joint sound.


These symptoms usually last for few days to week. If someone has travelled to area with Zika, and develop above symptoms - must contact a doctor. Molecular tests on blood used to confirm the presence of virus.

Even though there is no vaccine for Zika, the specific treatment for the disease include supportive care, rest and hydration. Patients are also administered paracetamol to reduce fever and no pain killers should be used while treating the disease.

For the care givers it’s important to know the following do’s don’ts

  • The body fluids and blood must be touched, if so , wash with soap and water after pricing care
  • If the clothes are stained with body fluids or blood must be washed with the laundry detergent with appropriate water temperature
  • All surfaces if contaminated with body fluids or blood must be wiped with household cleaners or disinfectants

Control measures for the disease include

  • Mosquito control and prevention of mosquito bits
  • Government agencies should look at measures to control larvae and adult mosquitos
  • Mosquito control at home-use of door screens , window screens
  • Close doors
  • Clean vases, water pots at home to avoid water logging and mosquito breeding
  • Mosquito repellent creams nets should help
  • Prevent water logging around the house and construction area – these areas where there could be mosquito breeding
  • Local public health bodies must be notfired for needful action

It is important to stay alert during the current times. The monsoon certainly is breeding site for mosquitos and therefore there is an urgent need for surveillance on pregnant mothers. Currently local awareness in those area are being done to spread.

Any person including Covid  and Covid recovered patients-prevention  mosquito bits is the key as this is the season for dengue too. If the local health bodies control spread of mosquito – vector control measures are taken we should be able to control the infection.

(The author is Consultant, Infectious Diseases,  Aster CMI Hospital, Bengaluru )