Published: 10th July 2021
What the FAQ: What are the symptoms of Zika virus, when was the first case found?
While India battles one pandemic, another virus seems to have taken people into its grasp — Zika virus. Here we explain what the symptoms are, when was the first case and more
Amid efforts to contain the deadly Coronavirus disease, Kerala on Thursday reported 13 cases of mosquito-borne Zika virus for the first time. All samples tested positive for the Zika virus were collected from the Thiruvananthapuram district and sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune. The samples were collected for testing after a 24-year-old pregnant woman sought treatment late last month with symptoms like fever, headache, and red marks on the skin, according to reports. We go back in time here and talk about the virus' origin, first-ever outbreak, and more.
What are the symptoms of Zika virus infection?
The symptoms of the mosquito-borne disease are mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, or headache. The incubation period of Zika virus disease is estimated to be three – 14 days and the symptoms typically last for two – seven days. Most people with Zika virus infection do not develop symptoms, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
How to prevent and treat the Zika virus?
There is no specific treatment or vaccine for the Zika virus and the development of the Zika vaccine remains an active area of research. The UN health agency advises people with symptoms to get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and “treat pain and fever with common medicines.” Zika virus infection can only be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites. Special attention should be given to prevent mosquito bites among pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and young children, says WHO.
Where was the first-ever case of the Zika virus?
Zika virus was first isolated in 1947 in the Zika Forest of Uganda (Zika means "overgrown" in the local language) from a rhesus monkey during a survey to detect yellow fever infections in primates. It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania.
When was the first case found in India?
In India, the Zika virus was first recorded in 1952-53. The country reported an outbreak in Gujarat in 2016-17. This was followed by major outbreaks in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in 2018. In late 2018, 159 cases of Zika virus infection were reported in Rajasthan and 127 in Madhya Pradesh, according to a Lancet study.
How did it start spreading?
The first large outbreak caused by the Zika infection was reported from the Island of Yap in 2007. After years of sporadic reports in Africa, the two other major outbreaks of the disease occurred in French Polynesia (2013-2014) and South America (2015-2016).