Zika Virus: A Public Health Emergency


The Zika virus and all suspected complications arising due to it in newborns have recently been declared a public health emergency by  World Health Organization(WHO).

Well if you think it is a routine affair, then let us provide you with the fact that this type of action, which the WHO has taken on the Zika Virus has only been only three times in the past.

And it shows this is something to be cautious about. It also paves the way to mobilize more fund and manpower for fighting this mosquito-borne pathogen which is spreading rapidly through the entire America and now even to other continents as well.

The reason for this emergency is that the mosquito-borne virus spreads very fast and is a suspected link for problems in babies born with an abnormal head, A condition called microcephaly  in scientific language.

Zika is not new to the world. It was first identified about some 50 years ago.

Now It has alarmed public health officials around the globe because of its possible association with cases of brain damage in babies. As per an estimate by the WHO, this virus will possibly reach around the globe and may infect up to 4 million people by this year.

There are 28 countries in the world that are currently on the list and health officials say that this number is likely to increase soon.

Zika is a dengue-like fever which, though not as deadly as it, but still can cause severe health related issues in babies born to mothers that are infected with Zika virus.zika infected kid

There has been no confirmed case of Zika in India. But in various countries around the world like South America and US, it has been declared as a pandemic.

The most common issue showing up in babies is explained in the picture.

This condition is called Microcephaly – where the head is not well developed and much smaller than normal.


Zika Virus Public Health Emergency

Why We Indians should be cautious about Zika Virus?

Zika has still not reached our country India. But still we need to be cautious about it.

The reason being our susceptibility to the disease like Dengue and Chikungunya, given the prevalence of Aedes Aegypti mosquito that is known to transmit both Dengue and the Zika virus.

Almost our entire country is in that danger zone. We face similar diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya every year. And thus are not in a condition to rule Zika out!

In India, cities like Bengaluru(with more than 1200 cases of dengue in 2015) and other such metros are more likely to face an outbreak that could threaten the unborn babies with this microcephaly if their mothers are infected.

The cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Agra have a large frequency national and international people travelling to and from other countries for work,tourism and attending several international events throughout the year.

There is also a possibility that may be the virus has begun attacking in India as well, and the cases are being mistakenly considered as Dengue.

It is yet to find.

Now we will tell you about the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this Zika virus

Zika Virus: Symptoms

The most common symptoms of Zika virus are:

  • Conjunctivitis.
  • Mild fever.
  • Rashes on body.
  • Joint and Muscle pain.
  • Headache and pain in eyes.
  • Vomiting.

To Avoid mosquito bites

  • Use mosquito repellents
  • If you use both mosquito repellent and sunscreen, first  apply the sunscreen and then the repellent
  • Wash your clothes properly.
  • Maintain personal hygiene
  • Wear full sleeved shirts
  • Use a mosquito net
  • Clean all the nearby waterlogged places like coolers, containers etc

Zika Virus: Diagnosis

  • Diagnosis of every disease is as important as its cure.
  • The symptoms of Zika virus are somewhat similar to dengue and chikungunya, which are spread by the same type of mosquitoes.
  • So if you feel such symptoms, Go to your doctor and get your checkup done.
  • Your doctor may order blood tests to look for Zika or other such viruses like dengue or chikungunya.

Zika Virus: Treatment

  • At present there is no full fledged treatment for Zika.
  • So try to treat it when the symptoms arise.
  • Take plenty of rest and drink a lot of fluids.
  • If necessary, take medicines, such as paracetamol, to relieve your fever and pain.

Check your knowledge about Zika Virus through this FAQ