Zika fever is spreading all over the world, as well as in India. What started out in the zika forest in Uganda, has now become a public health emergency all over the globe.
What is Zika Fever
Zika fever is caused by a virus that is transmitted mainly by the mosquito. To be more specific, the day time mosquitoes. It initially began in monkeys in the year 1947, but has now spread to human beings.
Zika fever is hard to diagnose as the symptoms are very similar to that of any normal virus.
The symptoms include:
2. Mild fever
3. Conjunctivitis (redness in the eyes)
4. Joint pain
5. Muscle pain
The symptoms normally last for approximately 2-7 days and seem extremely mild.
In many cases, a patient can only be diagnosed with Zika virus, if he/she has been tested in the laboratory.
Modes of Transmission
While it is well known that Zika fever is transmitted mainly through a mosquito, this is not the only method in which it can be transferred.
1. Sexual Transmission
Zika fever can be transmitted through sexual acts. This does not necessarily mean that the person carrying the virus, is showing symptoms at that particular moment.
It might even be passed on to the other person, without the first person ever experiencing any symptoms.
2. Blood Transfusion
Although not many cases of the virus have been found to be transferred through blood transfusion, there have been cases of it happening in Brazil and France.
3. Laboratory Exposure
Although there has been very few cases of this happening, it is still considered risky and unsafe to be exposed at a laboratory that works with the zika fever.
4. Mother and Child
This is by far the most dangerous mode of transmission. Many cases have confirmed that the mother carrying the virus has affected the fetus. This has resulted in many cases of fetal brain defects.
On the plus side, zika virus is not transferable through breast feeding. And mothers in zika infected areas, are still encouraged to breast feed their babies.
5. Aedes Mosquito
Finally, the most common of them all, the Aedes mosquito. These mosquitoes are generally house mosquitoes and multiply in stagnant water, near you. They feed on human beings and are mostly aggressive during the day time. But, this does not mean that they are not active during the night.
What does Zika Virus Do?
1. Birth defects
Zika fever, when transmitted from mother to child can cause brain defects or Microcephaly.
Microcephaly is a condition where the baby is born with a small head. While in the womb, the size of the baby’s head develops according to the growth of the brain. If the brain does not form fully, it will result in the baby having a smaller head.
This can lead to many complications for the baby, as he/she might be slow to learn, have vision or hearing problems and seizures.
2. Guillain-Barre syndrome
Zika virus on a rare occasion can cause Guillain Barre Syndrome. This syndrome is when the immune system begins to attack the nerves and muscles of the body. This could result in paralysis of the body.
No specific method of treatment is found. And no vaccine developed, as yet. The general treatment depends upon the symptoms and varies from person to person.
Methods Of Prevention
1. Mosquito Repellent
Use mosquito repellent as often as possible to keep away the mosquitoes, as the major cause for the transmission is through the bite of a mosquito.
2. Long Sleeved
Try using long sleeved clothing as much as possible. The thicker the clothing, the less chances of the mosquito being able to bite you.
3. Stagnant Water
Mosquitoes use water in flower pots, open drains and other areas where water may gather, to multiply. Remove any stagnant water as soon as possible.
4. Avoid Sexual Contact
Try and avoid any type of unprotected sexual actions. It was found that the virus is mostly transmitted through semen.
Take necessary precautions and remain safe and healthy!