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Zika virus: Symptoms, prevention, treatment of mosquito-borne disease

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for the Zika virus and the development of the Zika vaccine remains an active area of research

Amid efforts to contain coronavirus disease, Kerala on 8 July reported 13 cases of mosquito-borne Zika virus for the first time. All samples tested positive for the Zika virus were collected from the Thiruvananthapuram district and sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. The samples were collected for testing after a 24-year-old pregnant woman sought treatment late last month with symptoms like fever, headache, and red marks on the skin.

Zika virus spreads mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito that bites during the day. Aedes mosquitoes are the same that transmit dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations.

It is associated with other complications of including preterm birth and miscarriage. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that individuals infected with the Zika virus can transmit the disease to their sex partners.

Symptoms of Zika virus infection

The symptoms for the mosquito-borne disease include mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. The incubation period of Zika virus disease is estimated to be 3–14 days and the symptoms typically last for 2–7 days. Most people with Zika virus infection do not develop symptoms, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Prevention, treatment

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for the Zika virus and the development of the Zika vaccine remains an active area of research. The UN health agency advises people with symptoms to get plenty of rest, fluids, and “treat pain and fever with common medicines.” Zika virus infection can only be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites. Special attention should be given to prevent mosquito bites among pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and young children, says WHO.

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