Amid the prevailing terror of Coronavirus, Kerala reported its first case of the Zika virus on Thursday. A 24-year-old pregnant woman was found positive for the mosquito-borne disease in Parassalla near Thiruvananthapuram. She is under treatment at a private hospital and her condition is stable at present.
When the woman was admitted to the hospital, she had a fever and a severe headache. Her body had rashes all over it. Doctors initially suspected it to be dengue or chikungunya but its test results had been negative. Thereafter, suspecting Zika, the samples of the woman were sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. 19 more samples with similar symptoms have been sent to NIV too.
Image Source: Indian Express
SYMPTOMS- Among the first indicative symptoms is high fever. The fever is much similar to dengue fever or the flu, making the virus difficult to diagnose.
Other symptoms include:
Rashes all over the body.
Muscle and Joint Pain.
Zika has also been associated with neurological disorders such as infection in the brain and spinal cord. Thus, if the symptoms persist for more than a week, doctors advise to get tested.
PRECAUTIONS- As the long-term health effects of Zika are undiscovered, the only precaution is to avoid a mosquito bite as much as possible. Zika virus is spread by Aedes mosquito which is active during the daytime. Thus, staying indoors mostly during the day and using high-grade mosquito repellent is advisable.
Zika mostly spreads through an infected mosquito. However, it can also spread through sexual contact. Thus, people returning cured of the disease must practice safe sex, or abstain from it altogether for some time.
People must ensure that water does not collect in the open for long as mosquitoes lay eggs on water.
Although the doctors are of the opinion that the virus is very much curable and is not fatal at all, the Health Department of Kerala has issued an alert in the State. At present, there is no vaccine or antiviral treatment available for the virus. Given the history, usually, the patients have been cured. However, the disease kills about 1% of its victims.