Centre alerts states about Zika virus, what are its symptoms and who is most at risk?

Ananya Shroff
3 Min Read

New Delhi: The Center has alerted all the states regarding the Zika virus. An advisory has also been issued by the Center regarding this. After some cases of Zika virus were reported in Maharashtra, the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday issued an advisory to all the states and instructed them to keep a constant watch on the situation. States have been asked to focus on getting pregnant women tested for Zika virus. Apart from the advisory issued by Director General of Health Services Dr. Atul Goyal, the ministry has also directed health institutions to appoint nodal officers.

The case was first reported in Gujarat
Zika virus infection is spread by the bite of Aedes mosquito. This mosquito also causes dengue and chikungunya. However, Zika infection does not cause death. The first case of Zika in India was reported in Gujarat in 2016. Since then, cases have been reported in several other states including Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

Why are pregnant women at greater risk?
Zika virus infection in pregnant women is the biggest risk factor for microcephaly. If a woman gets infected with Zika virus during pregnancy, her baby is at an increased risk of developing microcephaly. Pregnant women who get infected with Zika are at risk of developing microcephaly (small head) in their baby, so this is a matter of concern. Microcephaly is a condition in which the baby's head is smaller than normal. It can hamper brain development and can also cause disabilities in the baby.

What are the symptoms of Zika virus?
Zika virus can cause mild fever, rash, joint pain, redness in the eyes (conjunctivitis), muscle pain, and headache. These symptoms usually last from 2 days to a week. There is no specific treatment for Zika virus. Most people have mild symptoms. Medication, rest, and fluid intake as advised by the doctor are recommended.

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