ZIKA VIRUS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     4th July 2024        
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Context: The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry (MoHFW) has instructed state governments to monitor the increasing cases of the Zika virus, with a particular focus on pregnant women who test positive.

Zika Virus

  • About: The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus originally discovered in Uganda in 1947, initially in monkeys. 
  • 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. 
  • This mosquito is also responsible for the transmission of diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.
  • It can also be transmitted from mother to fetus 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.

oZika 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.

  • Impact on Pregnancy: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, and may also result in preterm birth and miscarriage.
  • Associated Conditions: The infection is associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy, and myelitis in adults and children.
  • Treatment: Currently, there is no vaccine or specific antiviral medication available for Zika virus.

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