Should we worry about Zika virus? All you need to know about the outbreak

Twenty-two people in Jaipur have tested positive for Zika virus, the health ministry said. There is no vaccine for the virus which can cause severe birth defects in unborn children. Here’s all you need to know about the virus:

india Updated: Oct 09, 2018 20:34 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Zika,Rajasthan,PMO
Zika virus is transmitted by daytime-active Aedes Aegypti mosquitos that also carry dengue, chikungunya viruses. (AP file photo)

The union health ministry sent experts to try and contain an outbreak of the zika virus in Jaipur, with a close watch on pregnant women.

Twenty-two people in the city have tested positive, the health ministry said, Bihar is on alert and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought a report..

There is no vaccine for the virus, which can cause severe birth defects in unborn children. Here’s all you need to know about the virus:

What is Zika virus?

Zika virus is transmitted by daytime-active Aedes Aegypti mosquitos that also carry dengue, chikungunya viruses. Its name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947

Should we worry?

*The virus is strongly suspected to cause birth defects and neurological problems in newborns, which can be a problem given high birth rate in India.

*Since India provides fertile climate for the aedes egypti mosquito to grow and multiply, an outbreak situation is possible.

*The mosquito also carries dengue and chikungunya viruses that claim hundreds of lives and infect thousands every year

*There are no vaccines or cure for Zika virus.

What are the symptoms?

*Fever

*Rashes

*Joint pain

*Head and bodyache

*Conjunctivitis

What are the preventive measures?

*Check mosquito breeding in and around your house

*The mosquito that carries Zika Virus- Aedes Aegypti- breeds in fresh water. Don’t let water collect in birdbaths, planters, unused bottles, containers, discarded waste, tyres etc.

*Use mosquito repellants such as creams, gels, electronic mosquito repellants, patches, incense sticks

*Use bed nets

*Grow plants that are known to repel mosquitoes such as citronella, basil, lemon grass, lavender, mint, rosemary etc.

* Wear dresses that cover most of the body parts.

*Take special precautions during the day as Aedes Aegypti is a day-biting mosquito

First Published: Oct 09, 2018 15:07 IST