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Sunday, January 31, 2016

What is ZIKA and should I be worried in India?


  • About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).
  • The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
  • Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people.
  • Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
  • Deaths are rare.


  • The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
  • See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found.
  • If you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
  • Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.


  • No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections.
  • Treat the symptoms:
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
    • Take medicine such as acetaminophen to relieve fever and pain.
    • Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding). If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
  • If you have Zika, prevent mosquito bites[PDF - 2 pages] for the first week of your illness.
    • During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites.
    • An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
Here is what India is doing about the virus as of Jan 2016

After swine flu and Ebola, a lesser-known-Zika virus is the new global threat that has put many countries on alert. With international experts raising concerns over its possible spread being similar to dengue and chikungunya, the Union health ministry has called health experts from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program-me and National Centre for Disease Control to closely follow the trend so as to keep the virus at bay.
“The virus is posing threat to all the countries around the world. While, as of now, there is no case that has been reported from India. We are examining the reports. The matter will be taken up with public health experts on Monday after which we will indicate our appropriate response,” said a senior official in the health ministry.
So far, the outbreaks of Zika virus — in which babies are born with unusually small heads — have been reported in central and south America. Locally transmitted (autochthonous) cases of Zika have been detected in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne arbovirus that was first isolated from a rhesus monkey in Uganda in 1947, and caused sporadic human infections in some African and Asian countries, with usually mild symptoms of fever, rash, and arthralgia. In 2007, it caused an epidemic on Yap Island in the Federated States of Micronesia, then spread to many countries in Oceania, before arriving in the Americas in 2014-15, probably via Easter Island.
With an estimated 4,40,000-1,30,0000 cases currently in Brazil alone, “Zika virus could be following in the footsteps of dengue and chikungunya, which are also transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Given that an outbreak anywhere is potentially a threat everywhere, now is the time to step up all efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to Zika virus,” said the Lancet. So far, the Phylogenetic analyses show that the strains of Suriname belong to the Asian genotype, and are closely related to the strain that was circulating in French Polynesia in 2013. Last month, the ministry of health in Brazil reported a twenty-fold annual increase in cases of newborn babies with microcephaly in the northeastern region of the country. While a causal link between Zika virus in the mother and microcephaly in the newborn baby is yet to be firmly established.
Other congenital neurological anomalies and an increased frequency of Guillain-Barré syndrome linked to Zika virus have also been reported.

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