Zika Virus Disease

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    In News

    • With a rise in the number of Zika virus cases in Uttar Pradesh, doctors have advised that people should avoid all non-essential travel to areas reporting cases.

    Matter of Concern

    • According to information released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), a majority of those infected with Zika virus disease either remain asymptomatic (up to 80%) or show mild symptoms of fever, rash, conjunctivitis, body ache, joint pains. 

    Zika Virus

    About:

    • Mosquito-borne virus transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which also transmit 3 other vector-borne diseases – Chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever.
    • It also spreads through blood transfusion and sexual contact.
    • First identified in 1947 in Zika Forest, Uganda from where it derives its name.

    Symptoms: 

    • They are similar to other viral infections such as dengue.

    Threats:

    • Pregnant women infected with the Zika virus may give birth to babies with severe brain damage or serious birth defects i.e. neurological disorders and foetal deformation known as Microcephaly in which infants are born with abnormally small heads.
    • Besides, there is also a possible link between virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous
    • system) is also suspected.

    Treatment and Prevention: 

    • There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available to treat Zika.
    • WHO declared the Zika virus and its suspected link to birth defects as an international public health emergency.

    Government Initiatives

    • Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP):  To strengthen/maintain decentralized laboratory based and IT enabled disease surveillance systems for epidemic prone diseases to monitor disease trends.
    • National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP):  Scaling up the entomological surveillance for Aedes. The vector surveillance should be round the year to detect the seasonal fluctuation in vector density and pinpoint high-risk areas. The six vector-borne diseases i.e. Malaria, Dengue, Lymphatic Filariasis, Kala-azar, Japanese Encephalitis and Chikungunya in India.
    • Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK):  An initiative under National Health Mission has a surveillance system for monitoring birth defects.

    Source: TH