Zika virus disease or zika fever is caused mainly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). The Aedes mosquitoes primarily bite during the day, especially during early morning and late afternoon/evening.
The Aedes mosquito also causes dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. If a pregnant woman is stung by an infected mosquito, the Zika virus can cross into the placenta and affect the fetus. Anyone can get infected by the Zika virus, but pregnant women are more vulnerable to the possibility of miscarriage and congenital abnormalities such as fetal microcephaly and other neurologic abnormalities resulting in zika virus baby. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika disease.
Zika Virus Symptoms
Zika virus symptoms include:
- Flat or raised itchy skin rash,
- Joint pains
- Muscle aches and pains
- Appetite loss
When to see a doctor?
Consult a doctor if you suspect you or any family member has a Zika virus infection. The doctors will suggest a blood test to screen for the virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Discuss with the doctor if you should undergo a zika virus test if you are pregnant or have recently visited a high-risk region where the disease is prevalent, even if you don't have any symptoms.
Zika Virus Causes
The most common way for the Zika virus to infect a person is through the bite of an infected aedes mosquito. The zika virus enters the mosquito when it bites a person with the disease.
When the infected mosquito bites another healthy person the virus enters the bloodstream of that person and results in an illness. The Zika virus may potentially pass from a mother to her baby in a pregnant woman.
Zika Virus Risk Factors
The factors that increase the risk of Zika virus disease include:
- Unprotected sex
- Traveling to the areas where there are Zika outbreaks
- Staying in Zika-infected areas
- Blood transfusion
- Mosquito bites
The zika disease complications include:
- Severe dehydration
- Guillain-barré syndrome
- Congenital malformations, especially microcephaly
- Miscarriage and stillbirth in pregnant women.
- Premature birth
- Eye problems in infants with Zika-related microcephaly, such as defects in the retina or the optic nerve, could lead to blindness later in life.
- Hearing impairment
- Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
Zika Virus Diagnosis
It is often recommended to get a diagnosis for the zika virus within a week after observing symptoms or if you have recently traveled to Zika-affected areas. The Zika infection is diagnosed through the following methods:
- Evaluating medical history, if there is a travel history to high-risk countries having an active Zika virus outbreak.
- Physical examination to look for signs and symptoms.
- Blood and urine tests and other laboratory tests to detect zika infection.
Ultrasound (USG test):
Ultrasounds (every 3 to 4 weeks) are recommended for pregnant Zika-infected mothers. The USG test can identify several fetal brain disorders, including microcephaly and intracranial calcifications in the fetus.
The amniotic fluid is examined for signs of zika virus infection in the unborn baby.
The Zika virus disease has no specific medication or vaccination. Usually, therapy aims to reduce zika symptoms. Most people generally recover on their own with the help of adequate rest and supportive treatment. The zika virus treatment methods include:
- Drink enough fluids such as water, fruit juices, buttermilk, and coconut water to avoid dehydration.
- Take enough rest because the infection can cause exhaustion and fever.
- As directed by the physician, use paracetamol in case of pain or fever.
- Pregnant women staying in highly affected Zika virus areas should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites by using mosquito repellents, use bed nets, etc.
Dos and Don’ts
The Zika virus disease or Zika fever mainly causes no or only mild symptoms, identical to a very mild form of dengue fever. Slight fever, rash, headache, red eyes, and joint discomfort are typical symptoms.
|Put tight lids on all water tanks and containers.||Allow rainwater to accumulate for mosquitoes to thrive.|
|Sleep under mosquito nets||Avoid any sudden symptoms or changes, particularly during pregnancy.|
|Use safe insect repellents on your skin.||Wear skin tight clothes|
|Wear long and loose clothes to protect yourself from mosquito bites.||Have unprotected sex|
|Avoid traveling to high risk regions having Zika virus outbreaks.||Travel to places where Zika disease is present.|
There is no specific medicine or Zika virus vaccine available to protect against the disease. The following dos and don'ts can aid in managing the disease.
Care at Medicover Hospitals
At Medicover hospitals, we have the best team of general doctors and medical professionals that treat the Zika Virus with the highest accuracy. Our qualified physicians are equipped with excellent diagnostic instruments and methodologies for screening, and treating the zika virus and related problems in adults and newborns. For a quicker and more lasting recovery from Zika disease, our experts closely collaborate with the patients to monitor their condition and the effectiveness of the therapy.