What is zika virus?
What is virus? …. As we already know a virus is a microorganism which causes disease or damage to living organisms. A virus is an agent which reproduces inside living host. The virus can infect all types of living organisms and can multiply in them such as animals, plants etc.
The biological nature of viruses came from studies in 1892 by the russian scientist Dmitry I. Ivanovsky and in 1898 by the dutch scientist Martinus W. Beijerinck.
Now let’s know about this new virus named ” Zika virus”. The name Zika virus is some what different. This virus is a disease caused by mosquito or insect bite. Especially, the mosquito bite and the species called Aedes mosquitoes. In pregnant women, it may cause subsequent birth defects.
HISTORY OF ZIKA VIRUS:
Zika virus, this was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. Zika virus was identified in humans in 1952. The name of this virus was originated from the forest name. As this virus affected monkeys were first found from the forest named “Zika” in Uganda, south africa. This virus infected cases were seen in Africa, America, Asia and Pacific. Mostly affected people are Africans. In 1960 to 1980 rare cases were seen but is spreading widely during these years.
HOW CAN WE IDENTIFY THIS DISEASE?
For the patients who are infected with this virus the symptoms can be identified in 3-14 days .Mostly the symptoms do not appear but mild symptoms observed are :
- Muscle pain
- Headache These above symptoms lasts for 2- 7 days.
Factors that have greater risk for developing this Zika virus include:
Living or travelling in countries where there have been outbreaks.
Having unprotected sex
COMPLICATIONS OF ZIKA VIRUS:
This virus should not affect pregnant women in case of infection, it causes micro cephaly and other congenital abnormalities, in the foetus and newborn babies.
It also causes foetal loss, still birth and preterm birth.
This zika virus cause congenital syndrome, which induce birth defects:
- Severe microcephaly with a partly collapsed skull
- Brain damage and reduced brain tissue
- Eye damage
- Joint problems, including limited motion
- Reduced body movements due to too much muscle tone after birth.
This virus can also cause neurological disorders such as Gullian-Barre syndrome.
TRANSMISSION OF ZIKA VIRUS:
As we already stated that it transmits by the bite of an infected mosquito from Aedus species mainly Aedes aegypti, in tropical and subtropical regions.
This type of mosquitoes usually bite during day time particularly during early morning and late afternoon or evening.
This is the same species of mosquito which transmits dengue, chicken gunya and yellow fever. It also transmitted through mother to foetus, sexual contact, blood transfusion and organ transplantation.
DIAGNOSIS OF ZIKA VIRUS:
As the symptoms are unknown sometimes, but based on the living areas of the patient , the blood (or) urine (or) semen is tested in the laboratory.
* Ultrasound to detect microcephaly or other abnormalities of the brain.
* Sample of amniotic fluid using hollow needle inserted into the uterus to screen for Zika virus.
TREATMENT OF ZIKA VIRUS:
There is no treatment for this infection. As symptoms are mild like fever, headache, rashes…etc it can be treated. If the symptoms worsen, patient should seek medical care and advice.
Drink plenty of water and fluids to prevent dehydration, Talk to your doctor before taking additional medicine for another medical condition.
Especially pregnant women should seek medical attention .
PREVENTION OF ZIKA VIRUS:
The important step first have to take is to avoid mosquito bites.
- Stay in air-conditioned or well-screened housing
- Wear protective clothing
- In order to prevent from mosquito bites, the people should wear full sleeves (or) light coloured clothes are more prefered.
- Mosquito repellents, coils should be used.
- Young children and pregnant ladies should sleep under mosquito nets.
- Reduce mosquito habitat
- Water storage containers should be closed properly.
- Public welfare programs should be conducted in order to create awareness in the people.
- Transmission during pregnancy should be prevented by using mosquito repellents, mosquito nets etc…. because in pregnant women, this virus causes the disease called microcephaly ( smaller head than normal head size)
- The prevention of this disease is very important because
“The good health is boon from god which we have to protect “
Stella Mercy rani, Keerthi kumari