Zika virus was first isolated in the year 1947, in Africa. Although its only recently that the whole world has come to know about it. Zika virus belongs to a family of viruses called flavi virus and spreads by mosquito bite (Aedes egypti - which also causes dengue, chikungunya ) during day time.
Incubation period for Zika virus is between 3 to 12 days. Common symptoms are fever, muscle pain, weakness, dehydration which last for weeks. However, pregnant women are at a higher risk, as the virus can effect the brain growth of the foetus (microcephaly - small head), and can even cause fetus's death. Virus is active and transmissible in the first week from an infected person through mosquito bites.
So far cases have been reported officially in (a WHO report): Barbados | Bolivia (Plurinational State of) | Brazil | Colombia | Costa Rica | Curaçao | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | El Salvador | French Guiana | Guadeloupe | Guatemala | Guyana | Haiti | Honduras | Jamaica | Martinique | Mexico | Nicaragua | Panama | Paraguay | Puerto Rico | Sint Maarten | Suriname | US Virgin Islands | Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Diagnosis can be done by blood test / amniocentesis if needed.
There is no vaccine or a specific anti-viral treatment available for Zika Virus. Symptoms like fever, headache, body rash etc can be treated symptomatically. Usually hospitalization is not required but in case condition worsens, do not hesitate from taking hospital care.
Pregnant women who are planning to travel to Zika virus affected countries, please make sure that you consult your doctor. Properly understand all the risks that are involved and make an informed choice.
- Wear clothing that fully covers your body and is loose, and comfortable
- Apply mosquito repellent generously. In case you are applying a sunscreen, apply mosquito repellent over it
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Rest a lot
If You have a child:
- Cover the arms and legs of the child
- Bed or crib of the child should always be covered under mosquito net
- Refrain from applying mosquito repellent on a child’s hand, irritated skin or a cut. You can spray the repellent on your hands and then apply it.
NOTE: Take good care of yourself and your family. It is advisable to avoid traveling to places affected with Zika virus. In case it is absolutely mandatory, make sure you consult your doctor.