Amid efforts to contain the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Kerala on Thursday reported 14 cases of mosquito-borne Zika virus for the first time. A 24-year-old pregnant woman has been diagnosed with the Zika virus infection, state health minister Veena George said.
The samples were collected for testing after the woman sought treatment on June 28 with symptoms like fever, headache, and red marks on the skin. The woman, who gave birth to a child on June 7, is in stable condition now.
When tests for other viral infections returned negative on the woman, the doctors recommended a Zika virus test. All samples tested positive for the Zika virus were collected from Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram district and sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.
Thirteen others are also suspected to have contracted the Zika virus. The Kerala government is waiting for confirmation from the NIV.
WHAT IS ZIKA VIRUS?
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito species named Aedes aegypti. The symptoms of Zika virus infection include mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.
The incubation period of the virus is estimated to be 3–14 days with the symptoms lasting for 2–7 days. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), most people with Zika virus infection do not develop symptoms. Aedes aegypti is the same mosquito species that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
For the majority of people, Zika virus infection is not a serious issue but can be very dangerous among pregnant women as the virus can easily transmit from a pregnant woman to her foetus.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
Currently, there is no specific treatment or vaccine for the Zika virus and the development of the vaccine remains an active area of research. The UN health agency advises people with symptoms to get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and “treat pain and fever with common medicines.”
Additionally, Zika virus infection can be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites, and special attention should be given to pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and young children.
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