14 Zika virus cases reported in Kerala | Daily Current Affairs 2021
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14 Zika virus cases reported in Kerala

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Zika Virus in Kerala

Zika Virus in Kerala: Health authorities have declared a state of alert in Kerala, India after 14 cases of Zika virus were detected.

Key Details:

  • Of the 19 samples sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune last, 14 were found to be positive for Zika virus.
  • The total number of Zika virus cases in Kerala stands at 14, including the first case of 24-years old pregnant woman.
  • The Union Health Ministry on July 9, 2021 stated that a six-member central team of experts has also been dispatched to Kerala to get a grip on the emerging Zika virus situation in the state.

What is Zika virus?

  • As per the World Health Organization (WHO), the Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first detected in monkeys in Uganda in 1947.
  • Later, the virus was detected in humans in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania in 1952.
  • Outbreaks of Zika virus have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific.
  • From the 1960s to the 1980s, rare sporadic cases of human infections were found across Africa and Asia.
  • A major outbreak in Brazil in 2015 revealed that it can lead to severe birth defects when pregnant women are infected.
  • The Zika virus has been associated with a rare auto-immune disease known as Guillain-Barre syndrome and shrunken brains in children.
  • As of now, there is no treatment for the Zika virus.

How does the Zika virus spread?

  • Zika virus is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes species of mosquitos (Aedes aegypti).
  • The Aedes species of mosquitos usually bite during the early hours of the day and late evening hours.
  • This is the same species of mosquitos that are the carriers of dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya.
  • Zika virus can also transmit from pregnant woman to her fetus, or transfusion of blood, or through sexual contacts, or organ transplant.

Symptoms:

  • The symptoms of the Zika virus include fever, headache, rashes, joint and muscle pain, malaise, conjunctivitis.
  • It usually takes around 3 to 14 days for the symptoms to show up from the time of being bitten.
  • The symptoms last for approximately 2 to 7 days.
  • Most people do not develop symptoms, one in five people infected show symptoms.

Prevention:

  • Protection against mosquito bites during the day and early evening is a key measure to prevent Zika virus infection.
  • Special attention should be given to the prevention of mosquito bites among pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and young children, according to the WHO.
  • Personal protection measures include wearing clothing, using physical barriers such as window screens and closed doors and windows, and applying insect repellent to skin.
  • Additionally, the WHO advises young children and pregnant women to sleep under mosquito nets if sleeping during the day or early evening.
  • Travelers and those living in affected areas should take the same basic precautions described above to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
  • Aedes mosquitoes breed in small collections of water. It is important to eliminate these mosquito breeding sites.

Zika virus: Previous outbreaks in India:

  • India had earlier in 2016-17 reported a Zika virus outbreak in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

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