WHAT IS ZIKA VIRUS?
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that spreads through the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquito named Aedes aegypti. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, peaking during early morning and late afternoon or evening. This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
WHEN WAS ZIKA IDENTIFIED?
The virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys and was later found in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Since then, outbreaks of the virus have been seen in Africa, America, Asia and the Pacific, while rare cases of human infections were found across Africa and Asia.
The first reported outbreak of Zika was on the Island of Yap in 2007. A massive outbreak was recorded in 2013 in French Polynesia
The outbreak in Brazil in 2015 became a real scare making headlines across the globe. Soon cases were seen in the US, Africa, and other regions of the world.
According to the WHO, so far 86 countries have reported evidence of mosquito-transmitted Zika virus.
SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT
According to the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), many people infected by the virus won’t have symptoms or show mild symptoms that include fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain. The symptoms can last for several days, and if it continues for long, they might need hospital care.
Diagnosis of the Zika virus can only be confirmed by blood tests or other through body fluids, such as urine or semen.
There is no specific medicine for the treatment of Zika virus infection. There is no vaccine for protection from Zika virus. There is a Zika-appropriate behaviour protocol that is recommended to stay safe and be prevented from this viral infection.
Precautions recommended against Zika virus infection include:
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Staying in places with air conditioning and windows
- Mosquito-netting can be used to cover babies younger than two months
- Not using products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than three years
According to the WHO, pregnant women living in areas with known Zika virus transmission or who develop symptoms of Zika virus infection should seek medical attention for laboratory testing and other clinical care.