May 27, 2024


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Dengue spreading mosquitoes can spread Zika virus as well

Eradicate mosquito breeding grounds on priority

Bangalore, Dec. 15: The first Zika case has been reported from Karnataka and doctors have been advising caution as there is no proven treatment yet for Zika virus.

Dr Nawed Azam (Consultant – Pediatric Intensive Care Services, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Hebbal) said, “Zika is a single stranded RNA virus( Flavivirus group). This virus is closely related to dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and West Nile viruses. Zika is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. Aegypti and Ae. Albopictus). This is the same mosquito responsible for dengue in our society and can very well transmit zika virus too.”

The other modes of transmission of Zika virus can be in the following forms; Mother to new born infant, breast feeding, sexual transmission from partner, blood transfusion and organ transplant (rare).

Kids should be cautious

“Unlike Covid, Zika is symptomatic in nearly 20 pc of infected patients. The symptoms develop within three to 14 days from the day of transmission. The virus level in blood is high up to seven days and has seen up to two weeks or more in exceptional cases.

Most of the infections are asymptomatic. If symptomatic can present with acute onset of fever, Maculopapular rash, Joint pain, Conjunctivitis, Myalgia and Headache”, Dr Nawed Azam said adding that Zika virus exposure in pregnancy can lead to Microcephlay, Miscarriage, Stillbirth, absent or poorly developed brain structures, defects of the eye, hearing defects or even impaired growth.

Management of Zika virus

Doctors say that as of now there is no specific treatment available. “Usually, Zika virus is treated with fever medication (paracetamol), good hydration and rest. In severe disease hospitalisation may be needed. Prevention is always better than cure and hence the following preventions need to be taken as there is no vaccine available for Zika virus. There is a need to eradicate mosquito breeding grounds by routinely cleaning up the stagnant water or spraying larvicidal/oil over collected water. Preventing mosquito bites by encouraging children to wear full-sleeved dresses that cover all of their limbs when playing outside and to use mosquito repellent cream or devices when outside.

Vector borne diseases are a bane in our country. In fact, in India, Aedes mosquito borne diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya lead to significant disability and deaths. Zika virus belongs to the same group of viruses and needs the same vector for transmission. High mosquito prevalence, poor water drainage and sanitation can result in epidemics of Zika virus disease adding to the public health burden of the country.

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