Recently, Zika virus registered 94 confirmed cases in Rajasthan. Labelled as the next potential epidemic of India, the virus has no vaccine or medicine available for the public as of now. Before the disease hits the capital on a large scale, doctors at Kukreja Hospital, Rajouri Garden share steps an individual can take for his/her protection:
Zika virus is transmitted by the bite of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito responsible for dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya. Apart from the common way of transmission, it can also spread via sexual contact, used needle and blood transfusion. While it has been termed non-fatal by multiple doctors, studies reveal that pregnant mothers and unborn children are vulnerable to heavy damage due to the virus.
Expecting mothers are prone to birth defects due to Zika virus, the most prominent one being microcephaly. It refers to unusually small head of the baby, which may lead to still birth or death under extreme circumstances. In addition to that, there are equal chances of other brain associated issues of the unborn child.
It is arguably the most mysterious part of the disease. In a fair share of patients, Zika virus revealed symptoms hardly indifferent from a normal flu. As a result, almost 70% cases go unnoticed and consequently, cause substantial damage. However, it is important to notice that symptoms lasted for approximately a week in the diagnosed patients. This includes:
- Joint/Muscle Pain
- Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
- Body ache
Dengue, spread by the same mosquito, has been responsible for a considerable number of deaths in the past. Though World Health Organization (WHO) denounced Zika as a public emergency, the Indian health ministry is continuously monitoring it. In an attempt to enhance protection against the virus, here are some tips from doctors at Kukreja Hospital, Rajouri Garden:-
- Reduced skin exposure with long-sleeve clothes like shirts and trousers
- Water cooler may become a breeding ground of mosquitoes with a change in season. Make it a point to change the water frequently
- Immediately inform local authorities about water clogging in the neighborhood
- Use mosquito repellent creams/sprays
- Ensure that drain outlets in the balconies are clear
- Regular cleaning of the bucket under air conditioner water outlet
While public awareness is the key for the people of to stay ahead of the disease, knowledge about prevention is the most effective way of dealing with the virus.