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Understanding Symptoms of Zika Virus

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With a 79-year-old Mumbai resident testing positive for the Zika Virus, there is a renewed interest across the country to understand its signs and symptoms, and more importantly, know to prevent or detect the condition early.

Symptoms of Zika Virus

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda, with most patients not exhibiting any signs & symptoms initially. However, some patients can exhibit the following symptoms between the 3rd and 14th day of the infection:

  • Mild Rashes
  • Fever
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Joint & body pains
  • Headache 

The above symptoms can last from 2-7 days from their onset. Zika virus requires a laboratory test and confirmation, followed by a clinical assessment and corelation by a physician.

Zika Virus

Transmission of Zika Virus

As noted above, Zika Virus spreads by mosquito bites. These are primarily Aedes mosquitoes, particularly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Transmission can also happen via blood transfusion, sexual contact, and via a pregnant mother to the unborn child.

Complications of Zika Virus

While in normal cases Zika Virus will not result in any major health complications, the virus can be treated clinically and people overcome the infection in due course. However, for pregnant women and their babies, the infection can lead to birth-defects such as microcephaly and various neurological disorders.

Zika virus infection has also been associated with a rare autoimmune disorder known as Guillain-Barré syndrome, which leads to muscle weakness and paralysis.

Prevention of Zika Virus

Good public sanitation and hygiene are vital parameters for the prevention of Zika Virus. Staying away from mosquito bites with adequate long-sleeved clothing, use of mosquito repellents also helps. Other means of prevention of the Zika Virus include safe sexual practices, and being careful about blood transfusion.

If you suspect you have Zika virus or have been in an area with a known Zika outbreak and develop symptoms, it's important to seek consult with a General Physician.