Zika Virus cases increasing in India

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The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease, has garnered global attention due to its potential to cause severe health complications, especially in pregnant women and their unborn children.

Spread in India

Mainly occurring in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, the Americas, Southern Asia, and the Western Pacific, India has experienced sporadic outbreaks of Zika virus infection since its first reported cases in Gujarat in 2016. Recently, Pune in Maharashtra has seen a significant rise in Zika virus cases, prompting the central government to issue an advisory on Wednesday, July 3.

Current Situation in Pune

As of July 2nd, 2024, Pune has reported eight cases, with the most recent being a 55-year-old woman. The total number of cases in Pune, Kolhapur, and Sangamner stands at seven.

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Government Advisory

The Centre has advised states to increase vigilance, particularly in screening pregnant women for Zika and monitoring foetal development in positive cases. Additionally, states are urged to report any detected cases to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme and NCVBDC.

Transmission and Risks

Zika virus is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites, sex, and breastfeeding. The virus can cause serious birth defects and other pregnancy problems. Additionally, it can be transmitted through laboratory-acquired infections, platelet transfusions, and certain human cell and tissue-based products.

Symptoms and Prevention

Most infected individuals may be asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms such as fever, rash, headache, joint pain, conjunctivitis, and muscle pain. Zika virus can be transmitted without symptoms or mild ones, making preventive measures crucial, including the use of insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and controlling mosquitoes indoors and outdoors. Returning travelers are advised to take steps to prevent mosquito bites for several weeks to avoid spreading the virus.

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Health Recommendations

While there are no specific treatments for Zika virus infection, the symptoms are treatable with supportive care. Pregnant women with Zika virus infection should seek immediate medical attention for laboratory testing, counseling, and appropriate clinical care. Currently, there is no approved vaccine for the Zika virus, but research is ongoing to develop effective preventive measures.

Conclusion

Zika virus infection remains a public health concern in India, and understanding its causes, symptoms, and preventive measures is crucial for individuals to protect themselves and their communities. Prompt medical attention and adherence to recommended precautions are essential in managing and containing the spread of the Zika virus in India.

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