ZIKA VIRUS (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Health)

News-CRUX-10     4th November 2023        
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Context: Karnataka has stepped up surveillance after a mosquito pool in Chickballapur was found to be positive for Zika virus.

Zika Virus

  • About: The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus originally discovered in Uganda in 1947, initially in monkeys. 
  • Identification: It was identified in humans in 1952, both in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.
  • Transmission: It is primarily transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, primarily the Aedes aegypti species. 

o This mosquito is also responsible for the transmission of diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.

o It can also be transmitted from mother to foetus during pregnancy, through sexual contact, via the transfusion of blood and blood products, and through organ transplantation.

  • Symptoms: Fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, or headache. It's important to note that many individuals infected with Zika virus remain asymptomatic and do not develop any symptoms.

o Zika virus infection during pregnancy can have severe consequences, potentially causing infants to be born with microcephaly (abnormally small head size) and other congenital malformations, collectively known as congenital Zika syndrome.

  • Treatment: Currently, there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medication available for Zika virus.