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Zika virus now a big threat for pregnant women

Hyderabad: Previously it was not clear whether Zika Virus has entered India, as no cases had been reported earlier, but with recent three cases being reported positive in Ahmedabad has cleared speculations about the virus making it to India. It is now confirmed virus has entered Indian environment.

With the speculations about the Zika Virus’s presence in India, the country was previously placed in Category 4 in World Health Organisation Category 4 which indicated the presence of virus in the environment but no positive cases have been officially reported. Now it is placed under the Category 2 after recent three cases being confirmed in Gujarat.

Zika virus belongs to virus family Flaviviridae and is spread by daytime active Aedes mosquitoes, such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus, which breed in clean and clear water. While mosquitos can only fly covering 150 meters, they are usually transported through various means of transportation and now controlling them has become a big concern for epidemiology. Doctors this monsoon season will have to test for Zika virus if the first test for dengue is negative. The diagnosis and symptoms being similar to that as dengue and chikungunya, the hospitals need to prepare to conduct these test in the city.

Senior pediatrician Dr Ramesh Dasari said, “The symptoms of Zika virus are similar to dengue, chikungunya and leptospirosis. They include fever, joint pains, rash and redness in the eyes. Hence the first line of treatment is to test for dengue. If that is negative then Zika tests will have to be carried out.”
Presently, National Institute of Virology, Pune is conducting tests for Zika Virus. The government needs to extend it to Institute of Preventive Health stated sources in health department.

The epidemiology wing has to create awareness among the people to ensure that people do not allow clean water to stagnate in pots, trays, drinking water drums overhead tanks and also containers for birds.

The virus poses a big threat to pregnant women as the viral load affects the foetus but it does not pose that much of threat to normal people.

Dr Geeta Naidu, senior gynecologist explained, “If the viral load is higher in the women than repeated ultrasound has to be done to check if the foetus is affected. Researchers have found hardened calcium deposits in the brain, breakdown in brain tissue, brain swelling and also poor growth of the foetus. There have also been still births because of the virus.”

The situation needs serious attention and constant surveillance for the pregnant woman in order to make sure they are not bitten by mosquitoes. According to the Doctors, covering oneself completely and using mosquito repellants on regular basis are the only ways to prevent the virus as there is no other treatment for the virus as of now. The person suffering should be kept in isolation so that it does not spread within the family, with sufficient intake of fluids and rest is compulsory for the body to deal with the virus load, DC reported.