Zika virus disease or Zika fever is being considered as a new type of disease but actually it was identified first in 1947 in rhesus monkeys found in the forest named ‘Zika forest’ and subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the republic of Tanzania. Further outbreaks were recorded during the past years but currently it is recorded in Africa, Americas, and Pacific. Even in french Polynesia, But the most effect is seen the American countries like Brazil and Mexico.
About Zika -The virus
Zika virus is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and genus Flavivirus. It is spread by daytime active Aedes mosquitoes such as A- aegypti and A- albopictus. These mosquitoes are also the carrier of other viral diseases like dengue and chickengunya. Sexual transmission of this virus is also possible.
More About Zika Virus – The Disease
Zika virus disease is a mild viral infection which was earlier considered a type of not so harmful common cold. But in past few years more dangerous effects of this disease have been recorded.Read more About the disease here.
As already said Zika virus disease is a mild viral infection so its symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue and they include-
- Fever Skin
- Muscle and Joint pain
- Malaise (feeling of being ill without known cause) and
Again these symptoms are not the true cause of concern as they last for at the max for a week. The real problem is that it might be a factor in causing other major neurological and auto-immune complications.
Recently in Brazil local health authorities have observed an increase in Guillaín Barré syndrome (rare condition where immune system attacks peripheral nerves causing partial or full paralysis) coincided with this viral infection in general public. Apart from that another serious condition microcephaly (brain and head are of abnormally small size) was seen in the new-borns and 20 times increase in these disorders was seen with the authorities thinking about direct relation between the two and Zika fever.
Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. They are also the carrier of dengue, chickengunya, and yellow fever is mostly found in hot and tropical regions.
- The virus may be suspected on the basis of symptoms and living history (eg. Living or visiting to an Zika affected area).
- It can only be confirmed by laboratory testing for presence of Zika virus RNA in the blood or other bodily fluids.
- One other method is to check the amount of JgM antibodies as increased amount suggests the presence of disease.
TREATMENT AND VACCINE
Zika fever is a self-remitting disease so at this point there is no need for external treatment. Still medication for the symptoms is normal as given in other similar disease like dengue. As it lasts for only 2-7 days until conditions become serious no medication is needed. Vaccine for the virus is also not available because earlier the structure of zika was not known. But a team of scientists in USA have been able to determine it which will pave the way for creation of Vaccines.
Zika virus enters our bodies mostly through the mosquitoes so the best way to prevent is by preventing these mosquitoes. This can be achieved by collaboration of the Government, the society and we as individuals by keeping our house and surroundings clean and preventing mosquito breeding in stagnant water. Especially pregnant women should try to avoid going to zika affected countries like Brazil.
According to few reports the virus entered Brazil during the latest FIFA world cup. With the summer Olympics in Rio again this year the risk of the contagion travelling to the whole world has increased manifolds.
ZIKA VIRUS IN INDIA
Though Zika virus seems to be a novelty among the general populace we have already suffered a Zika virus outbreak during 1952-53. Antibodies against Zika virus were also found in Indian people. One of the possible reason is by passive immunity present in us due to other similar virus like that of dengi. We develop antibodies to fight it since childhood and the similar Zika virus is defeated by the same. In terms of dangerous Dengi virus is like a big brother to Zika virus so if our bodies can resist it then it can also resist zika.
It is reported by scientists that this virus develop more quickly in warmer climates so the danger still looms around us. After W.H.O issued alert our government also took a few steps to curb the danger of an outbreak.
STEPS BY INDIAN GOVERNMENT
Our union Health Minister J.P. Nada called out a high profile meeting with the doctors of AIIMS to discuss and prevent a outbreak. After the meeting a team was established that will keep an eye on possible spread of virus in India and will try to stop it. The team will also monitor other affected countries and provide timely suggestions on those facts. India is yet to report a case of zika still warning was issued by the Government and steps are taken to prevent mosquito breeding and cleanliness.
It is currently an unknown player that may be very dangerous to the mankind. The emergency surrounding the disease can be easily guessed from the fact that countries like El Salvador and Columbia are now asking women to not get pregnant before 2018. But scientist have yet to find concrete relation between the virus and auto immune and neurological diseases. We know very less about it even the correct incubation period of the virus is not known. We Indians can live in relative peace because of our gift of passive immunity and wait and watch to see what happens next.