India is the latest country to be affected by the outbreak of Zika Virus. The total number of Zika virus cases in the country has gone up to 72 as per reports.  According to the health department, 12 new cases have been added to the already 60 existing. The WHO has declared Zika Virus as a public health emergency of international concern.

Zika in Rajasthan

New cases have been reported in Jaipur on Monday. Reportedly, Shastri Nagar, Station Road area around Rajput Hostel and Vidyadhar Nagar are the areas most affected.

Health department additional chief secretary Veenu Gupta said out of 72 patients 60 have recovered, while 12 are still under observation. She said the department has issued an alert to other parts of the city. The ministry has also instructed all states to strengthen their surveillance systems.

What is Zika Virus?

Aedes aegypti mosquito causes the virus. This mosquito type also transmits dengue and chikungunya and breeds in open stagnant water. The virus is harmful to everyone. However, pregnant women are most affected if the infection hits them.

The virus can cause severe birth defects in unborn children. The National Health Mission is closely monitoring pregnant women in the Rajasthan amid the outbreak.

India’s history of Zika

In India, the virus was first detected in a 64-year-old male in February 2016. The second was detected the same year in November in a pregnant woman at Ahmedabad’s BJ Medical college. She had a low-grade fever after delivery. The third case detected in a 22-year-old pregnant woman who was in her 37th week of pregnancy.

Measures taken

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) control room has been alerted to monitor the situation. A team of seven people is monitoring the situation in Rajasthan’s popular tourist destination, Jaipur.  The NCDC and the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme are also taking measure to control the disease at the airports.

About the Virus

  • Zika is a disease similar to dengue and chikungunya.
  • Infected blood and sexual contacts with people affected can also transmit the virus.
  • There is no vaccination to cure the disease, only bed rest can help cure it.
  • The patient will suffer a mild fever for four to seven days.

Symptoms

According to the NHS, most people don’t have any symptoms but if they do occur they are usually mild and last around two to seven days.

These include:

  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Rash
  • Itching all over the body
  • Headache
  • Joint pain (with possible swelling, mainly in the smaller joints of the hands and feet)
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain behind the eyes

Advice for pregnant women

Scientists have agreed that there is enough evidence to show Zika virus infection is a cause of birth defects, including microcephaly. Microcephaly causes the baby to have an abnormally small head. The baby is also at the risk of being associated with abnormal brain development. This is also known as congenital Zika syndrome.

Scientists and authorities recommend pregnant women to not travel to areas at high risk of Zika virus transmission.

The Toronto-based International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers announced it is advising pregnant travellers to postpone trips to the areas of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra.

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