Kerala reports first case of Zika Virus; all you need to know

Samples of 13 persons, suspected to be positive for Zika virus, have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

Kochi: While Kerala is still grappling with COVID-19 cases and India is still healing from the second wave, at least 13 cases of Zika virus infections have been suspected in the state, confirmed state Health Minister Veena George.

The case was confirmed after first case of Zika virus – a mosquito-borne viral infection was detected in the blood samples of a 24-year-old pregnant woman in Thiruvananthapuram.

The condition of the woman, who delivered on June 7, is stable now say doctors. The patient was diagnosed and hospitalised at KIMS.

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Samples of 13 persons, suspected to be positive for Zika virus, have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune.

What is Zika Virus and what are the symptoms?

The symptoms of Zika virus include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache.

The virus is spread through the Aedes species of mosquitoes, which is found in high density across the state. Aedes mosquitoes, which are also carriers of dengue, breed in stagnant freshwater and rest mostly indoors.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those infected with the Zika virus can also transmit the disease to their sexual partners.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most people with Zika virus do not develop any symptoms. Only one in five people are likely to show symptoms, studies say. However, if they do, the symptoms are expected to last 2-7 days.

Zika virus has often been linked to birth defects and development of Guillain-Barre syndrome, where one’s immune system attacks the nerves. Some people infected by it might not show any signs or symptoms. However, in pregnant women the infection can seriously harm the developing foetus and lead to congenital anomalies.

Currently, there are no vaccines or cure for Zika virus. The virus was first isolated in 1947 in Uganda’s zika forest.

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