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Guide To Zika Virus

What You Should Know About the Zika Virus?

Counted among the most fatal diseases, Zika virus is a sickness transmitted from one person to another by a genus of mosquitoes called Aedes. Mostly found in dense and tropical regions, the Aedes mosquitoes carry this deadly Zika virus and, as a result, have a number of people in tropical regions of Africa and America suffering from it. In fact, the Zika virus disease has been spreading like wildfire to other parts of the world like Asia and the Pacific too. While the Zika virus symptoms are not that noticeable, considering mild fever or muscle pain as symptoms of a viral attack too; when the Zika virus infects a person, it should be treated at a nascent stage.[1]

Why You Should Be Aware Of Zika Virus?

Containing the same genes as yellow fever and dengue, Zika virus is a part of the Flaviviridae family, which can be found in tropical regions of Africa and South America. [2]Spread by a special type of mosquito, the Zika virus is currently listed on the most dangerous sickness list of WHO. A vaccine for Zika virus has yet not been derived. The Zika virus disease is transmitted by mosquitoes active in the daytime in marshy and unclean areas.

How Did Zika Virus Come Into Existence?

The first case of Zika was reported in Uganda among the endangered species of the rhesus monkeys. The mosquito-borne Zika virus disease emerged and showed its initial traits in the tropical region of Africa in 1947 , when a group of scientists were monitoring an outburst of yellow fever in the forest area of the equatorial region. It took the Zika virus 6 years to finally make its way to mainstream society in 1952, when the virus spread out in the Republic of Uganda and Tanzania. [3]What Are The Symptoms Of Zika Virus?

What Are The Symptoms Of Zika Virus?

The basic symptoms of any mosquito-borne disease include a mild infection, which may escalate to fever, skin infection and headaches. Considering it follows the yellow fever and dengue patterns, the symptoms of Zika virus in your body can be witnessed within two days – a week’s time among individuals. You will witness a body rash, high fever, conjunctivitis, headache, malaise and muscle and joint pain in Zika virus. While these Zika virus symptoms can be quite confusing, they should not be ignored.[4]

How Much Damage Can Zika Virus Cause To Your Body?

An outburst that was recorded by health organizations worldwide between 2013-15 in the South Pacific regions of French Polynesia and South American region of Brazil, Zika virus was classified as a disease that infects the human nervous system causing autoimmune complications in your body. As a result, you will experience weakness. A recent outbreak in Brazil detected the Zika virus when a team of health researchers were attending to the Guillain-Barré syndrome that concurred with the virus attack and almost had a similar way of making the muscle tissues in the body weak and attacking immunity systems. A recent study revealed that Zika virus is seen infecting babies born with microcephaly – as such abnormalities in the body and complete brain development make the body prone enough to attract the Zika virus.[5]

How Does Zika Virus Get Transmitted From One Person To The Other?

Just like dengue or malaria, the Zika virus is carried by the Aedes mosquitoes and it spreads amongst people via bites. Mainly witnessed in tropical regions, the virus is something that can be transmitted along with other water-borne diseases like chikungunya, yellow fever or other internal ailments whose root cause are mosquito bites. While the researchers are still trying to find Zika virus’ contagious features, it is said that Zika virus can be sexually transmitted from one person to another.

How Does One Diagnose Zika Virus In The System?

While the outbreak of the Zika virus was mainly reported in areas of Pacific, South America, Africa, and forest areas of Asia, anyone visiting these areas and coming back must get themselves checked to ensure the Zika virus hasn’t attacked them. Considering the symptoms of Zika virus as mentioned earlier – mild fever, body rashes, conjunctivitis and muscle pain, must be recorded and immediate tests via samples of body fluids like blood tests, urine tests and saliva swabs must be sent to the laboratory for further tests to ensure the Zika virus has not attacked you yet.[6]

How Does One Prevent Themselves From The Attack Of Zika Virus?

While there been no progress in finding a cure for Zika, prevention is the only way one can escape the strong clutches of the virus. It is usually said that any area which breeds a lot of mosquitoes is harmful as they can cause an infection. While reduction of mosquitoes in your area is the best prevention one can take to avoid Zika virus, maintaining personal hygiene and timely vaccines against other diseases like yellow fever, etc. help in building a strong immunity system. Alongside this here are few points one must consider exploring to prevent themselves from Zika virus:

  • Regularly spraying of mosquito repellent in the house to ward off the mosquitoes carrying Zika virus.
  • Dusting your clothes before wearing them.
  • Wear light coloured outfits.
  • Closing doors and windows as you enter your home and, if possible, covering your windows with nets to prevent any intrusion of mosquitoes in the house.
  • Sleeping under mosquito nets or applying a mosquito repellent cream on your body to avoid any bites.
  • Keeping the surroundings clean, especially near tanks, gardens, leaking pipes. Mend broken pipes and avoid undue leakage of water that can form puddles or gutters. Have the local cleaners clean the gutters and water bodies nearby.
  • Spray your garden with insecticides at least once every month.
  • Ensure there is no accumulation of garbage around your house.[7]

How Can You Treat Yourself If You Have Zika Virus-Like Symptoms?

While doctors and scientists have yet not zeroed in on a treatment for the Zika virus disease, people infected with Zika virus must keep themselves hydrated at all times, consume a healthy and warm diet and treat fever or rashes with necessary medications. In case of a worst scenario of Zika virus, immediate medical care and advice on vaccines must be considered before it is too late.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 13, 2022

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