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.