Zika Virus

Electron micrograph of "Zika virus". Virus particles (colored purple) are 40 nm in diameter, with an outer envelope and a dense inner core.
Micrograph of Zika Virus

Viruses have been the talk of the town since its high intake in the previous year. For instance Covid that has booked its seat for a long stay in the country along with its innumerous variants has caused a lot of problems. Zika Virus is one such deadly virus which is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae and spreads from Aedes mosquitoes. It existence has been marked since ages detected first in monkeys in 1947 and then in humans in 1952 in Uganda.

The first recorded outbreak of Zika virus disease was reported from the Island of Yap in 2007.Its symptomatic time period is from 3 to 14 days. Its symptoms are almost equal to dengue fever which includes fever, rash, muscle and joint pain, conjunctivitis, malaise, and headache, and usually last for 27 days. Its infection is deadly during pregnancy and leads to microcephaly which leads to small head size since it disrupts brain growth by hijacking a pathway which regulates growth of new neurons and other congenital abnormalities in the developing fetus and newborn. It can also lead to fetal loss, and preterm birth.

"Zika virus" capsid model, colored by chains, PDB entry 5ire
Zika Virus Capsid Model

It can also transfer from men and women to their sexual partners and during blood transfusion. Although no clinically proven vaccine has been developed so far but clinical trials are in progress. Therefore no proper treatment is available and the only treatment that is done is by using the medicines to lower a particular symptom. For example in case of fever paracetamol comes handy. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice.

In such case prevention is the best remedy. Water should not be stagnant, sanitary conditions should be maintained, pregnant women should sleep under mosquito nets and should avoid going to unhygienic places. Windows and doors should be kept closed. Mosquito repellant creams should be applied.

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