What is ZIKA VIRUS DISEASE?

  • Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red
    eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
  • There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly (a condition in which a baby’s head
    is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age) and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies
    of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Knowledge of the link between Zika and these outcomes is
    evolving, but until more is known, WHO recommends special precautions for pregnant women or those trying to become
    pregnant.
  • According to PAHO/WHO, up to January 30th 2016, 26 countries and territories have reported Zika cases. List of areas
    with ongoing Zika transmission is constantly updated and available online (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/).

How can one prevent ZIKA VIRUS DISEASE?

  • There is no vaccine for preventing Zika.
  • The most important protective measures are to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
  • This relies mainly on two strategies: control of mosquito and prevention of mosquito bites.
  • Control of mosquito existence consists of eliminating mosquito-breeding sites that are formed in standing water. This
    includes emptying, cleaning or covering containers that can hold

water, such as flower pots, tires, and buckets.

  • Prevent mosquito bites by: using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, preferably
    light-colored, using permethrin-treated clothing; using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows;
    and sleep under insecticide-treated nets.

PREGNANT WOMEN A VULNERABLE GROUP

  • Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should consult their local health authorities if travelling to an
    area with an ongoing Zika outbreak.
  • All pregnant women should reconsider travel to areas where Zika transmission is ongoing.
  • Currently, officials from Brazil, Columbia, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Jamaica have recommended that women delay getting
    pregnant until the alert is lifted.
  • Health care providers should ask all pregnant women about recent travel. Women who traveled to an area with ongoing
    Zika virus transmission during pregnancy should be evaluated and tested for

Zika infection.

TREATMENT FOR ZIKA VIRAL DISEASE

  • There is currently no specific antiviral cure available for the disease itself, treatment is generally supportive.
  • People sick with Zika should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines.
  • If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice.
  • In pregnant women, fever should be treated with paracetamol.
  • Regular, 3-4 weeks tests should be done to the growing fetus if a woman tests positive to the Zika Virus infection
    test. Referral to a medical specialist is recommended.