AMN / New Delhi
After Jaipur and Ahmedabad, a team of experts has now reached Madhya Pradesh to conform Zika cases. The team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Emergency Medical Response (EMR) has gone to the state following information about three persons being detected with the virus.
Zika virus is transmitted through the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It causes fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain. The virus is harmful to pregnant women, as it can lead to microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head is significantly smaller than expected, in newborn children. The symptoms of Zika are akin to that of dengue and it is a public health emergency.
Speaking about it, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Last year in May, the WHO confirmed the first three cases of laboratory-confirmed Zika virus infection in India from Ahmedabad in Gujarat. With other such similar cases, it seems Zika is now here to stay in India. A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome. Other complications include preterm birth and miscarriage. Pregnancy loss due to asymptomatic Zika virus infection may be a common but under-recognized adverse outcome related to maternal Zika virus infection.”
Zika virus infection is also a trigger of Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy and myelitis, particularly in adults and older children. The incubation period is 3 to 14 days.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “These new cases tell us that all this time, the Zika virus has been circulating in the community and suggest low level transmission of Zika virus and the likelihood of more cases occurring in the near future. This should be of great concern to all, especially the public health authorities given India’s huge population, climate that is favorable to vector-borne diseases and India being a hotspot on the tourist map.”
Some tips from HCFI
• At present, there is no vaccine or specific drug available to prevent or to treat Zika infection. Patients should be advised to take paracetamol to relieve fever and pain, plenty of rest and plenty of liquids. Avoid aspirin, products containing aspirin, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.
• Use of measures to protect against mosquito bites is very important to prevent Zika infection such as using insect repellent, covering as much of the body as possible with long, light-colored clothing, eliminating places where mosquitoes can breed and putting screens on windows and doors.
• People traveling to high risk areas should take protections from mosquito bites. Pregnant women should avoid traveling to high risk areas.