Zika virus: The first case of Zika virus case has been reported in Chembur, Mumbai, said Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The 79-year-old man suffered from fever, cough and stuffy nose. The mosquito-borne illness transmits through aedes ageypti mosquitoes that also spread dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever virus, and West Nile virus. While most people infected by it remain asymptomatic, in some cases symptoms like fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis and muscle pain appear.
Elderly, expecting mothers, people with diabetes, cancer patients, or those on immunosuppressive medications, dialysis dependent and HIV are at risk of developing severe infection and prolonged illness. If untreated or prolonged, Zika virus may cause organ dysfunction, neurological issues and symptoms like seizures, altered sensorium, encephalitis and nerve related problems can occur.
Very few cases of Zika virus have been reported in India. In 2021, a Zika virus infection was confirmed in a 24-year-old pregnant woman, resident of Kerala. In the same year, a 50-year-old woman from Maharashtra’s Belsar, was tested positive. In 2022, a 7-year-old female student of a government ashramshala (residential school) in Zai, Talasari was diagnosed with Zika virus.
Symptoms of Zika virus
It commonly manifests in the form of an acute illness characterised by the acute onset of low-grade fever, pruritic rash, skin rash, joint pains, red eye, myalgia, headache, retro-orbital pain, and weakness. Other less commonly observed symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea, and mucocutaneous ulcers.
This is a mosquito-borne illness that garnered global attention due to its rapid spread and potential health risks, particularly for pregnant women and their babies. The virus is primarily transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, the same vectors responsible for dengue and chikungunya transmission.
Symptoms of Zika virus infection are often mild and can include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Many infected individuals might not even realize they have contracted the virus, as symptoms can be mistaken for other common illnesses. However, the virus’s link to birth defects, particularly microcephaly (abnormal smallness of the head) in newborns, has led to widespread concern.
Prevention plays a crucial role in managing this virus’ transmission. To protect oneself, it’s important to avoid mosquito bites. This can be achieved by using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and using bed nets, especially during the daytime when Aedes mosquitoes are most active. Eliminating standing water, where mosquitoes breed, is another key preventive measure.