Zika is a flavivirus which is a mosquito-borne disease occurring primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. This virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys through a complex system which kept a tab on yellow fever, and the first few human cases were found in 1957 in the United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda. The first ever large outbreak of zika cases was reported from the island of Yap in 2007. Besides the mosquito bite, zika virus is also spread sometimes by having unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person. In May 2015, Brazil accounted the first zika outbreak in the Americas. Approximately, one out of five people show symptoms and the infection is generally quite mild. A few of the most common symptoms are rash, fever, joint pain or red eyes, muscle pain and headache. The symptoms usually start two to seven days after being bitten by an infected aedes mosquito and last for several weeks. Hospitalization and/or deaths from zika are very rare. However, a nerve disorder called Guillain-Barré Syndrome might seldom follow an infection. Also, one of the biggest concern is pertaining to the birth defects which have been witnessed when infected pregnant women give birth, as evidence supports link between zika and microcephaly (a birth defect which leads to incomplete brain development). A few ways one can prevent from acquiring zika virus are mentioned-below.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- One can treat and spray the clothing apparels with permethrin.
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.
- Avoid using insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old, instead use mosquito nets.
- Use mosquito nets to cover beds and use door screens to prevent mosquitoes from coming in.
- Use mosquito repellent coil, electrical, sprays, etc.
- To avoid sexual transmission of Zika, always use condoms.
Unfortunately, zika does not have any effective and successful treatment yet; only paracetamol and ample rest will help with the symptoms. This illness cannot be prevented by any medications or vaccines; one can take all possible above-mentioned precautionary measure to prevent aedes mosquito bite.