Zika Virus

The article only imparts general advice and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Always visit a doctor for health care opinion.

How To Prevent Against Zika Virus Disease

Dealing with the nuisance of mosquitoes is often part-and-parcel of life in a tropical climate. Most of the time, these mosquitoes are harmless (itchy bites notwithstanding!). But, there are times when you will need to be careful, as there are some species of mosquitoes that act as vectors for transmitting dangerous diseases. One such mosquito-borne disease is Zika, or Zika virus disease. Read on for information about Zika, the symptoms to look out for, and the treatment options available should you get infected.

What is Zika virus disease?

Zika disease is caused by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmit the virus by biting an infected human and going on to bite another human. Zika is also one of the few mosquito-borne diseases that can be transmitted through any form of sexual intercourse. It can also be transmitted from mother to foetus during pregnancy, through blood transfusions and through organ transplantation.

The virus was first identified in Uganda – recorded in rhesus monkeys in 1947, and then in humans in both Uganda andtheUnitedRepublicof Tanzania in 1952. Since then, there have been outbreaks of Zika virus disease recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Typically, sporadic cases of Zika tend to present as mild illnesses, although there have also been large outbreaks and more serious presentations of the disease in the Federated States of Micronesia in 2007 and French Polynesia in 2013.

A Zika fever outbreak in Brazil in 2015 caused the World Health Organisation to declare it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), with the virus spreading rapidly across the Americas and beyond. Fortunately, while India does have previous history of Zika transmission – most recently in Rajasthan in 2018 – there is currently no evidence of an ongoing outbreak.

What are some common Zika fever symptoms?

As the Zika virus can be transmitted through a variety of different ways, it is important to be aware of the common symptoms of Zika, regardless of whether you live in a mosquito-prone area.

You should know, however, that the majority of people who are infected with the Zika virus disease will not develop symptoms, and, if they do, symptoms are likely to be mild. To add to this, Zika fever disease may be misdiagnosed for other mosquito-borne diseases like dengue or chikungunya as the symptoms are very similar.

Typical Zika virus symptoms to look out for include:

  • A fever
  • A skin rash
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • General malaise
  • A headache

If you are pregnant and displaying any of these symptoms, please note that there are complications associated withZika virusinfection duringpregnancy, andyou may want to seek urgent medical assistance. Zika virus disease in pregnant women has been known to cause:

  • Congenital Zika syndrome: this includes microcephaly, where the baby is born with a small head or the head stops growing after birth, and other congenital abnormalities in the developing foetus and newborn
  • Pregnancy complications including foetal loss, stillbirth and preterm birth
  • A trigger of Guillan-Barré syndrome

How do you prevent Zika virus disease?

There is currently no treatment or vaccine available to protect against Zika virus infection, so prevention is key to keeping yourself and your family safe, particularly when travelling.

The mosquito that transmits Zika is mostly active during the day and the early evening, so it is important to take precautions during this time. For example, you may want to use the Mortein Insta Vapourizer Combipack to help keep mosquitoes at bay. It has a double-active formula that begins acting in five minutes to knock down mosquitoes before they can mount an attack. Remove the cap, insert the liquid vaporiser bottle into the electric heating machine, plug it in and switch it on. For best results, keep doors and windows closed for the first 30 minutes.

Some further actions you can take include:

  • Wear long-sleeved clothing and long trousers, preferably in light colours
  • Using window screens and keeping doors and windows closed where possible
  • Applying insect repellent
  • Sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets, particularly if napping during peak biting periods
  • Removing any mosquito breeding sites, such as water storage containers and vessels of standingwater

Because Zika canbe transmitted throughsexual intercourse, youmay wish to practise safe sex with anyone who has travelled to an area where there is active Zika transmission or has had the Zika virus infection. Pregnant women who are concerned about Zika transmission through their partners may wish to abstain from sex completely for the duration of their pregnancy.

How do you treat Zika virus?

If you do start to experience Zika symptoms, lived in or visited an area where Zika virus might be prevalent, or have recently had sexual contact with someone who had the disease, you may want to get yourself tested. Typically, diagnosis of Zika virus disease is through a blood test, although Zika can also be diagnosed by laboratory tests of other bodily fluids such as urine or semen.

As Zika virus currently has no cure, treatment involves attempting to alleviate the symptoms of Zika infection. If you have a mild case of Zika, this may simply mean using over-the-counter medicines to treat your fever and any pain. Mild symptoms should pass within 2-7 days and you are unlikely to need hospitalisation unless your symptoms worsen. Either way, if you suspect you have Zika virus disease, it is important to let medical staff know so that they can keep a record of transmissions. You should also try to keep mosquitoes away from you to prevent further transmission of the disease.

Disclaimer: Mortein does not make any warranty that by using these products you will not contract the diseases referredto in this site.Use Mortein as partof a complete preventativeplan and please still take caution. Seek a medical professional for further advice in regard to the above, especially if visiting prone areas.