ZIKA VIRUS- A GLOBAL HEALTH ISSUE

Zika virus infection is transmitted through bite of mosquito Aedes albopectis and Aedes aegypti. This is the the same genera, responsible for transmitting dengue fever. The virus causes zika fever and related symptoms. The pregnant women are more likely to transmit this infection to newborn child resulting microcephaly.

Epidemiological Statistics

This virus was first isolated from the rhesus monkey in Uganda. Then, cases of human illness with zika fever were reported in 1952 in Africa, Tanzania and Brazil, Malaysia, and Thailand also. In 2007, outbreak of ZIKV reported in Micronesia and in 2013 also in French Polynesia. Similarly, in 2015, some more cases of ZIKV were reported in Brazil. The infection then spread to America and other states. Again in the year 2016, the ZIKV cases were again reported in Brazil, America and the pacific regions. The viral infection spread to other countries as well.  In 2018, 64 cases of zika viral infection in US and 116 cases in other states were reported. If remain uncontrolled, this can spread worldwide.

ZIKV was first isolated from the blood of rhesus monkey and recent cases of ZIKV suggest the Adese aegypti is the vector for transmitting this virus in humans from the infected rhesus monkey. Life cycle of Adese aegypti mosquito consists of four distinct stages including egg, larva, pupa and adult which transmit infection.

Signs And Symptoms

Symptoms of zika infection are of fever, joint pain, body rashes and that of headache that appear after 2-12 days of mosquito bite. Symptoms can be mild to severe within 2-7 days. Usually 1 out of 5 people develop the symptoms. The virus can remain in blood of person for several days. If the affected person is pregnant woman then it leads to microcephalic abnormality in newborn child.

Microcephaly is the condition in which the baby has small skull size than normal. The condition is due to abnormal brain development in embryonic stage. Other possibility is some mutation such as case of ZIKV infection. This condition can be mild to fetal depending upon its severity. The other symptoms related to microcephaly are abnormal development and functioning of brain intellectual disability such as hearing and vision problem.

This disease results due to mutation in genetic material of baby. Geneticists have identified about seven genes which control brain development. Their mutation results in abnormal brain development. Other reasons are:

  • Interruption in blood supply to baby’s brain
  • Exposure to some harmful radiation and chemicals
  • The ZIKV affected female transmit the disease to newborn
  • Cytomegalovirus and other infection such as in rubella and toxoplasmosis can be possible cause of it
  • Genetic abnormality like in case of Down’s syndrome
  • Cerebral anoxia- problem in normal oxygen supply to brain cells Etc.

Transmission

The bite of mosquito Aedes agypti– transmits the ZIKV infection. Moreover, the disease also transmits by sexual contact and from mother to new borne as well. The researches are still going on to find out genetic bases of this disease. Several cases of microcephalic abnormality in new borne of affected mothers have been reported till now.

Treatment Of Zika Fever

There is no specific vaccination or treatment of ZIKV till now. Researchers are trying to fine out its genetic bases and possible treatment.

As there are not certain treatment of zika fever so the better option is prevention especially for the pregnant women. Using mosquito repellent and covering the body as much as possible can be helpful. Pain killers are helpful in fever. Also the travelers should reconsider their travelling to those areas, where the cases of zika fever has been reported.

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