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Zika Virus Spreads Wings in Kerala, Maharashtra: Link to Coronavirus, Symptoms Explained as Cases Rise

In India, the first case of Zika Virus was reported in 2017 in Gujarat and later in Tamil Nadu.

In India, the first case of Zika Virus was reported in 2017 in Gujarat and later in Tamil Nadu.

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

The first Zika virus infection case in Maharashtra has been reported from Pune district, officials said on Saturday, while also appealing people not to panic.The woman patient who was diagnosed with the infection has recovered completely, the state health department said.

“She and her family members do not have any symptoms,” it said in a statement. The 50-year-old woman, a resident of Belsar village in Purandar tehsil, received her test report on Friday.

Zika Virus infection is already on rise in Kerala where two more people, including a minor girl, were found infected with the virus on Saturday, taking the total affected in the state to 63, health minister Veena George said.

Similar to Covid-19

The initial stages of Zika virus infection are similar to some of the clinical symptoms of SARS-CoV2 infection, that causes Covid-19. Therefore, the diagnosis is a challenging one, experts have written in the Journal of Medical Virology in April this year.

However, while Zika virus disease and Coronavirus have some similarities, the vectors, transmission and epidemiology are different. Zika virus spreads through the bite of the aedes aegypti mosquito that is also known to transmit infections like dengue and chikungunya.

Symptoms

Reports say that most people infected with the virus do not develop symptoms. The symptoms of Zika Virus include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. It is very similar to those caused by other arbovirus infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache.

The symptoms are usually mild and last for 2-7 days. Only one out of four infected people develops symptoms of the disease.

Is the Zika Virus a Concern?

Experts at Pune-based National Institute of Virology said the Zika virus can be of concern and work was underway to understand the strain of virus which is in circulation in the country.

Experts say Zika virus can occur in local outbreaks. It was only in 2015 that Zika was found to be associated with microcephaly in children born to mothers infected with this virus during pregnancy. Generally, the virus is not considered dangerous to anyone other than pregnant women.

In India, the first case was reported in 2017 in Gujarat and later in Tamil Nadu. Large outbreaks took place in later in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in 2018.

How to Prevent from Zika Infection?

The prevention guidelines of Zika virus infection are similar to other arbovirus infections like dengue. Aedes mosquitoes and their breeding sites pose a significant risk factor for Zika virus infection. Prevention and control include reducing mosquitoes through removal and modification of breeding sites and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people.

It is advised to reduce the breeding of mosquitos by emptying, cleaning or covering containers that can hold water such as buckets, flower pots or tyres, so that places, where mosquitoes can breed, are removed. Social distance and hygiene measures should also be enforced.

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first published:August 01, 2021, 10:44 IST