Zika Virus: All You Need To Know About Symptoms And Treatment

Amid the rise in Zika virus cases, an advisory has been issued to all states asking them to step up vigil. Maharashtra has reported eight cases of Zika virus till July 2. Of these, six are from Pune, one each from Kolhapur and Sangamner, and 2 are pregnant women.

What is Zika Virus?

Zika virus disease (ZVD) is a mosquito-borne disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. While it is usually mild to moderate disease in adults and requires no specific treatment, in pregnant women, it may cause microcephaly, a condition in which the head is significantly smaller due to abnormal brain development, in the foetus. The first case was found in 1947 in Uganda and since then it has spread to several parts of the world including Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas, as per the World Health Organisation.


It is caused by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. It can also spread through sex or to a fetus during pregnancy. Notably, the infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects, congenital malformations as well as preterm birth and miscarriage.


The majority of those infected with the Zika virus show no symptoms. Among those who do, symptoms normally appear 3-14 days after infection and are minor. These can include rash, fever, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. They usually last 2-7 days, as per the WHO. The organisation added, “These symptoms are common to other arboviral and non-arboviral diseases; thus, the diagnosis of Zika virus infection requires laboratory confirmation.”


There is no specific treatment available for Zika virus infection or disease. Individuals experiencing symptoms like rash, fever, or joint pain should rest, stay hydrated, and take antipyretics and/or analgesics as needed. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines should be avoided until dengue virus infections due to bleeding risk. Patients should seek medical advice if their symptoms worsen.


It is important to prevent mosquito bites to control the spread of Zika virus. No vaccine is yet available for the prevention or treatment of the infection. It is also advised to avoid travelling in areas and countries where there have been outbreaks.

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