Part of: Prelims and GS-II – Health
Context With a rise in the number of Zika virus cases in Uttar Pradesh, doctors have advised that people should avoid all non-essential travel to areas reporting cases.
- Delhi also has been placed on alert.
- The Union Health Ministry has also advised people to control/prevent mosquito breeding.
- Based on the available information of previous outbreaks, severe forms of disease requiring hospitalisation are uncommon and fatalities are rare.
- The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had said earlier that non-essential travel to the affected areas and countries should be deferred/cancelled
- Also, Persons with comorbid conditions (diabetes, hypertension, chronic respiratory illness, immune disorders etc) should seek advice from the nearest health facility, prior to travel to an affected country.
What is Zika virus?
- Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys.
- It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.
- ZVD is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes (AM), mainly Aedes aegypti.
- This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
- Transmission: From mother to fetus during pregnancy, through sexual contact, transfusion of blood and blood products, and organ transplantation.
- Symptoms: Fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.
- According to WHO, a majority of those infected with Zika virus disease either remain asymptomatic (up to 80%) or show mild symptoms
- Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly (smaller than normal head size) and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome.
- Treatment: There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
- The focus is on relieving symptoms and includes rest, rehydration and acetaminophen for fever and pain.