Zika Virus Outbreak India 2018: The Preventive Measures You Can Take to Keep the Vector-Borne Disease at Bay
Aedes mosquito (Photo Credits: Wikimedia commons)

Zika virus is taking over our country once again. Rajasthan is facing the Zika virus outbreak, and sadly the toll has crossed 50. As per the Union Health Ministry, 18 more people in Jaipur were tested positive for the virus. However, a department official had earlier said that 30 of the total cases were doing fine after receiving treatment. The rate of people suffering from the Zika virus is only increasing. The first case registered, this year in Rajasthan, was of an elderly woman from Jaipur who was tested positive for the infection. Zika Virus Outbreak in Rajasthan: 50 People Tested Positive in Jaipur, 276 Teams Deployed in Affected Wards

However, the Rajasthan State Health Department has undertaken immediate preventive measures to stop the number of people suffering from increasing. The key to taking the number down is prevention. This vector-borne disease can be prevented if a couple of factors are considered. Resource mobilisation, coordination, collaboration, capacity building and informed decision-making are the key to prevent the spread of the virus. Integrated awareness and outbreak preparedness can help solve the issue.

What is Zika Virus?

This virus is transmitted through the bite of the infected mosquito (Aedes Mosquito, responsible for the spread of chikungunya and dengue). Zika virus infection is also a trigger for Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy and myelitis, particularly in adults and older children. Transmission from an infected pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth is a distinct possibility. The virus can cause birth defects in newborns called microcephaly – a condition defined by small heads and brain damage, sometimes along with other abnormalities such as blindness, deafness, seizures and other congenital disabilities.

Diagnosis- Since symptoms are similar to dengue, diagnosed can be done through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and virus isolation from blood samples.

Here are a few preventive measures-

  1. Zika is highly preventable if you can control the mosquito breeding in your area and surroundings you live in. Here are a few tips-
  2. Reduce mosquitoes through source reduction: Empty, clean or cover containers that can hold water such as buckets, flower pots or tyres, so that places, where mosquitoes can breed, are removed
  3. Use insect repellent
  4. Wear clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible
  5. Using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows, mosquito nets
  6. Spray insecticides

They need to develop, strengthen and implement integrated surveillance systems for Zika virus infection and related complications. To prevent a large geographical area from getting affected – steps need to be taken to monitor the situation in an effective and strategic manner