The Zika fever is starting to take shape as the deadliest of an epidemic of all times. We were not half way in dealing with malaria when Aedes found a new cause to leave us shattered in attempts against tackling their side effects. Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that was discovered in 1947 in Uganda in rhesus monkeys through a monitoring network of sylvatic yellow fever. From then till 2006, this Zika virus confined itself to Africa with petite appearances in Asia. The first major epidemic stabbed the human race in 2007 in which 75% of Micronesia’s population was affected badly by it. From October 2015, there was news of the spread in America too.
- Genre: Flavivirus
- Vector: Aedes mosquitoes (which usually bite during the morning and late afternoon – day time)
Zika Virus Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
The disease has a very ambiguous character. Not all the patients have shown symptoms. In the cases where some clues are seen beforehand, the virus infection is mild. Exanthema or a skin rash is the most elaborative symptom of a Zika infection. The doubts about incubation period still persist. Zika symptoms are more similar to dengue and chikungunya, Conjunctivitis (red eyes), skin rash along with extreme muscle pain and discomfort in joints. In few cases, there is a presence of complications in neurological systems. This virus can also take over the autoimmune system in rare cases.
This virus can also take over the autoimmune system in rare cases. Some worst and probable complications in Zika Virus Infection are microcephaly in newborn babies. There might be a potential correlation between the Guillain-Barré syndrome and Zika virus. The fever spreading by this virus is also known as yellow fever. The term yellow fever is related to an acute disease caused by the virus. For clearer symptoms of this virus infection, scientist and researchers will have to monitor each patient carefully. In time, the boundaries of Zika virus symptoms are expected to be defined more clearly.
- Mild fever
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Skin rashes
- Extreme muscle pain and discomfort in joints
- A headache and Maculopapular Rash
The diagnosis of yellow fever is possible by tracking down the vulnerable localities and family histories. The government organises camps near the localities which are at high risk of Zika virus infection. The diagnosis can be confirmed only by blood tests for detection of Zika virus RNA. The tests can be performed on other body fluids like saliva or urine. Most of the tests are effective only after 5 days but certain virological tests show result within 3-5 days of infection.
The transmission of this deadly virus is mainly due to mosquitoes. The bite of an infected Aedes mosquitoe species can cause the transmission of Zika RNA. These mosquitoes get infected when they bite humans already infected by Zika. The transmission of Zika can be also from a pregnant mother to her offspring. This transmission is usually predominant in the pre-delivery phase only (as per observations). Breastfeeding has till date reported no Zika transfer. In many cases, the virus can be transported through sexual contact or blood infusion. Apart from Africa, Yap and French Polynesia, this virus has taken over 13 countries in America till now. The spread is more rapid in the America due to lesser immunity of people towards these viruses. One should always avoid travelling to the affected regions of the world.
As the symptoms of this disease are very mild, there is a need to spread maximum awareness about the Zika virus symptoms. The tracking of circulation of infection is the first priority. Then is the response of authorities towards detection of this infection. The surveillance camps should be organised at higher frequencies to keep the spread in check.
Treatment or Prevention
Yellow fever caused by Zika virus is not a chronic ailment. Though the patient has to take a lot of rest and eat healthy food. It is advised to drink plenty of liquids. The pain and fever must be brought under control by taking medicines. The patient should also be kept in isolation from more susceptible or lesser immune toddlers. Recently there was news that India has developed the only vaccine against Zika. This vaccine is still undergoing tests and has not been released. So currently, there seems to be no vaccine available for this deadly virus.
Most importantly the Zika virus treatment should not be taken lightly. Proper care is necessary as the characteristic complications are still unrealised. Any odd Zika virus symptoms should be addressed to the authorities for complete treatment. A rare symptom can be a string to solve the mystery behind the Zika virus treatment.
The yellow fever is proving fatal for some patients who don’t have the access to basic medicinal amenities. This issue should be taken seriously. Also pregnant mothers must not expose themselves to areas which are prone to mosquitoes. This is a prevention step. In the Zika virus treatment, the first step is always prevention. All the mosquito breeding sites should be removed. Cleaning practices must be encouraged. Even the infected patients must be kept away from mosquitoes as they can infect the vector. This infected vector may transfer the disease to others.
- There is no specific treatment and medicine for Zika virus.
- Plenty of rest
- Drink enough fluids to preventing dehydration in body
- Eat Healthy Foods
- Treat pain and fever with common medicines
The Worldwide Response to Zika Virus
The Pan American Health Organisation and World Health Organisation has been impaired in concern by frequent reports of this disease spreading like wind. The nature of this virus is still much beyond the complete human understanding. This raises most concern for countries which are already struggling with the economic and health line dipping below the normal. For now, the safest option lies in trying to spread awareness about what is known about the disease and virus.
Any epidemic can be brought under control by the collective realisation of the fact that there exists a moral responsibility for every human. We should all work together in spreading awareness about the Zika virus. Also, clothes should be treated with permethrin for treatment. The use of repellents is to be checked very carefully especially when being used on small children. A sensible society only can help in the eradication of mosquito-borne epidemics.
Image Credits: rd.com, healthimpactnews.com, healthmap.org