Zika Virus

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Overview

Zika virus is a virus that causes mild flu-like symptoms. The infection is primarily found in the tropical and sub-tropical regions. It is transmitted via a mosquito. Currently, work is being done to find a Zika virus vaccine, but for now, the prevention of this infection is dependent upon protecting self from mosquitoes.

Causes

  • Getting bit by a specific mosquito of the Aedes family.
  • Sexual contact. This is rare, but Zika virus has also been reported to be transmitted by sexual contact with an infected partner.
  • Blood transfusion. Again, a rare cause, but in some isolated cases, Zika virus has also been reported to have been transmitted via blood transfusion.

Symptoms

Symptoms and signs of this infection are not always found after the patient has been infected. In fact, 4 out of 5 of the infected people do not show any symptoms of the disease. When symptoms do manifest, they are usually the following:

Usually, these symptoms resolve within a week.

In pregnant women, it can lead to microencephaly and other congenital brain conditions. Sometimes it can also cause miscarriages.

Diagnosis

For the diagnosis, it is important to ask the patient of recent travel history to the regions where Zika virus transmission is active. Some blood tests that detect the Zika virus in the blood are also helpful.

Treatment

Treatment is supportive, and aimed to relieve symptoms:

  • Rest
  • Fluid balance maintenance

Medications like Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen to relieve the joint pain and fever

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