December 10, 2023

Zika Virus

Syllabus: General studies paper 3 (S&T)


Kerala is on alert after detecting at least 15 cases of the zika virus.

About zika virus:

  • Zika is a viral infection, spread by mosquitoes.
  • The vector is the aedes aegyptimosquito, which also spreads dengue and chikungunya.
  • Additionally, infected people can transmit zika sexually.
  • First identified in uganda in 1947 in monkeys,zika was detected in humans five years later.
  • Sporadic cases have been reported throughout the world since the 1960s, but the first outbreak happened only in 2007 in the island of yap in the pacific.
  • In 2015, a major outbreak in brazil led to the revelation that zika can be associated with microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with small and underdeveloped brains.

Fatality of zika virus:

  • Generally, the virus is not considered dangerous to anyone other than pregnant women.
  • Some countries that have had a zika outbreak, including brazil, reported a steep increase in guillain-barré syndrome;
    • It is a neurological disorder that could lead to paralysis and death, according to the world health organization (who).
  • In 2017, following a study on brazil’s confirmed cases, the us national institutes of health study estimated the fatality rate at 8.3 per cent.


  • Most people infected with the virus do not develop symptoms.
  • The symptoms are similar to those of flu, including fever, bodyache, headache etc.
  • If the symptoms worsen, people should seek medical advice.
  • Additional symptoms can include:
    • The occasional rash like in dengue and
    • Some patients also have conjunctivitis.
  • The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of zika virus disease is estimated to be 3-14 days.


  • Zika has no treatment or vaccine.
  • According to the who, the symptoms of zika virus are mild and usually require rest, consumption of plenty of fluids, and common pain and fever medicines.

History of zika virus:

  • In india, zika virus was first recorded in 1952-53.
  • The latest major outbreak was in 2018, when 80 cases were reported in rajasthan around the months of september and october.
  • Prior to this, three cases were detected in bapunagar area in gujarat’s ahmedabad district in may 2017.
  • One case was also reported from krishnagiri district on tamil nadu in july 2017.

Protocol followed by government during outbreak:

  • Governments take mosquito control measures such as spraying of pesticides, use of repellents etc.
  • Due to the possibility of congenital abnormalities and sexual transmission, there is also focus on contraceptives.
  • The who requires countries to counsel sexually active men and women on the matter to minimise chances of conception at the time of an outbreak.



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