Zika virus cases reported in Kerala

Amid the surge in covid-19 cases in State, Kerala has officially confirmed its first case of Zika virus, which is a mosquito-borne viral infection.

Key facts

  • Samples of 13 persons, suspected to be positive with Zika virus, have been sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune.
  • Symptoms of this viral infection include fever, skin rashes, muscle & joint pain, malaise, conjunctivitis and headache.

Zika virus

Zika virus is a member of virus family Flaviviridae. It spreads by daytime-active Aedes mosquitoes like A. aegypti and A. albopictus. Its name has been derived from Zika Forest of Uganda, where virus was first isolated in 1947. Zika virus has similar genus with dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses. Virus has been known to occur within narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia since 1950s. It started spreading eastward from 2007. As a result, it became epidemic in 2015–2016.

How Zika Virus Spread?

Zika virus is spread through Aedes species of mosquitoes. These viruses are found in high density across the state. Aedes mosquitoes, a carrier of dengue, breed in stagnant freshwater and rest indoors mostly.

Impacts of Viral Infection

These viruses are linked to birth defects and development of Guillain-Barre syndrome, where immune system of individual attacks the nerves. Sometimes, this infection can be symptomless. This viral infection can seriously harm the development of foetus in pregnant women and lead to congenital anomalies.

How it can be cured?

There are no vaccines or cure for Zika virus, currently.

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