Zika Virus

  • Category
    Public Health
  • Published
    10th Oct, 2018
  • 22 cases of Zika virus disease have been reported in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
  • The present outbreak in Jaipur, Rajasthan was detected through the ICMR surveillance system.

Issue

CONTEXT:

  • 22 cases of Zika virus disease have been reported in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
  • The present outbreak in Jaipur, Rajasthan was detected through the ICMR surveillance system.

ABOUT:

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.
  • Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day.
  • Zika virus is also transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy, through sexual contact, transfusion of blood and blood products, and organ transplantation.

Symptoms:

  • Symptoms are generally mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache.
  • Symptoms typically last for 2–7 days.
  • Most people with Zika virus infection do not develop symptoms.

Affects:

  • Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome.
  • Microcephaly is caused by underlying abnormal brain development or loss of brain tissue. Child outcomes vary according to the extent of the brain damage.
  • Infection with Zika virus is also associated with other complications of pregnancy including preterm birth and miscarriage.
  • An increased risk of neurologic complications is associated with Zika virus infection in adults and children, including Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy and myelitis.

Treatment:

  • There is no treatment available for Zika virus infection or its associated diseases.
  • Symptoms of Zika virus infection are usually mild. People with symptoms such as fever, rash, or arthralgia should get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines.
  • If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice.
  • Pregnant women living in areas with Zika transmission or who develop symptoms of Zika virus infection should seek medical attention for laboratory testing and other clinical care.  

Status of Zika virus worldwide:

  • In October 2015, Brazil reported an association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly. Outbreaks and evidence of transmission soon appeared throughout the Americas, Africa, and other regions of the world.
  • Zika virus disease is an emerging disease currently being reported by 86 countries worldwide.

Status of Zika virus in India:

  • In India, the first outbreak was reported in Ahmedabad in January/February 2017.Second outbreak took place in July, 2017 from Krishnagiri District in Tamil Nadu.
  • All pregnant mothers in the area are being monitored through NHM (National Health Mission).
  • Extensive surveillance and vector control measures are being taken up in the area as per protocol by the state government.

Analysis

Steps taken by government so far:

  • A 7-member high level Central team was deputed to Jaipur following detection of first case to assist State Government in control and containment measures.
  • The situation is being reviewed at the level of Union Minister of Health and monitored on a daily basis by the Secretary, Health.
  • A high level Joint Monitoring Group of Technical Experts headed by DGHS (Directorate General of Health Services) has met twice to monitor the preparedness and response measures.
  • A Control Room has been activated at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to undertake regular monitoring of the situation.
  • All suspect cases in the defined area and mosquito samples from this area are being tested.
  • Additional testing kits are provided to the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratories.
  • The State Government has been supplied with IEC (Information, Education and Communication) material prepared to create awareness about Zika virus disease and its prevention strategies.

Way Forward:

  • Advancing research in prevention, surveillance, and control of Zika virus infection and associated complications.
  • Developing, strengthening and implementing integrated surveillance systems for Zika virus infection and associated complications.
  • Strengthening the capacity of laboratories to test for Zika virus infection worldwide.
  • Supporting global efforts to implement and monitor vector control strategies aimed at reducing Aedes mosquito populations.
  • Strengthening care and support of affected children and families affected by complications of Zika infection.

Learning Aid

Practice Question

What is Zika virus? What are the implications of its spread in India and worldwide? What measures should Indian government undertake to limit its spread? (250 words)

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