Even as Kerala grapples with a consistent rise in its daily Covid numbers, another virus has emerged as the latest threat to its healthcare system. As many as 15 cases of the Zika virus - a dengue-like mosquito-transmitted disease have been detected in the southern state since Saturday.
Here's all you need to know about the outbreak.
Kerala detected its first case of Zika virus on Thursday after a 24-year-old pregnant woman near Thiruvananthapuram tested positive for the disease. This mosquito-borne virus has affected the state’s citizens for the first time. The previous time Zika cases were reported in the country was back in 2016-2017 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. As per research, there have been outbreaks in South East Asia and a rapid spread in Brazil back in 2015. It was deemed a virus in 1952 and was first isolated back in 1947 from monkeys in Uganda’s Zika jungle.
A diagnosis of Zika virus infection can only be confirmed by laboratory tests of blood or other body fluids, such as urine or semen. Infection with the Zika virus may be suspected based on symptoms of persons living in or visiting areas with Zika virus transmission and/or Aedes mosquito vectors.
The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of Zika virus disease is estimated to be 3–14 days. The majority of people infected with the Zika virus do not develop symptoms.
Symptoms are generally mild including :
and usually last for 2–7 days. This virus also affects pregnant women and can cause birth defects and congenital conditions such as microcephaly in the fetus and can further cause premature birth, and miscarriages. It can also be a trigger for Guillain-Barre syndrome, neuropathy, and inflammation of the spinal cord in older children and adults.
If you happen to develop the above symptoms unexpectedly or after having visited an area where there are Zika virus cases, immediately consult with a general physician as soon as possible. They will confirm the diagnosis through urine and blood tests.
Protection against mosquito bites during the day and early evening is a key measure to prevent Zika virus infection. Special attention should be given to the prevention of mosquito bites among pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and young children. Since the virus is transmitted through mosquitoes, it’s important to protect yourself from them. You can follow these tips to help prevent a Zika virus infection, especially if you live in an area where cases are currently present.
There is no treatment available for Zika virus infection or its associated diseases. Should you be diagnosed with the virus, Try to follow all the precautionary measures recommended by your doctor. The following can help reduce your discomfort as you heal from the virus.
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