Why in News?

Karnataka health dept issues advisory after detection of Zika virus in mosquito pool in Chikkaballapura.

What is Zika Virus?

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus first identified in Uganda in 1947 in a Rhesus macaque monkey followed by evidence of infection and disease in humans in other African countries in the 1950s.

Zika virus is primarily transmitted by infected mosquitoes of the Aedes (Stegomyia) genus, mainly Aedes aegypti, in tropical and subtropical regions. Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day. These mosquitoes also transmit dengue, chikungunya and urban yellow fever. Zika virus is also transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy, as well as through sexual contact, transfusion of blood and blood products, and possibly through organ transplantation.

Most people infected with Zika virus do not develop symptoms. Among those who do, they typically start 3–14 days after infection, are generally mild including rash, fever, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise and headache, and usually last for 2–7 days. These symptoms are common to other arboviral and non- arboviral diseases; thus, the diagnosis of Zika virus infection requires laboratory confirmation.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly and other congenital malformations in the infant, including limb contractures, high muscle tone, eye abnormalities and hearing loss. These clinical features are collectively referred to as congenital Zika syndrome. The risk of congenital malformations following infection in pregnancy remains unknown; an estimated 5– 15% of infants born to women infected with Zika virus during pregnancy have evidence of Zika related complications. Congenital malformations occur following both symptomatic and asymptomatic infection. Zika infection in pregnancy can also cause complications such as fetal loss, stillbirth and preterm birth.

There is no specific treatment available for Zika virus infection or disease. No vaccine is yet available for the prevention or treatment of Zika virus infection. Development of a Zika vaccine remains an active area of research.