Zika virus alert in the Indian state of Kerala

Zika is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which is most active during the day

India last reported a Zika outbreak in the western state of Gujarat in 2016-17. The latest outbreak has been confirmed in the Thiruvananthapuram state which is in India’s southern Karala region. Fourteen people have been effected, of whom, 13 are health care workers, the 14th a 24 year old pregnant woman who has since given birth. The district medical officer, Dr. Shinu KS. has confirmed that the health care workers all resided in accommodation close to the private hospital in which they were working. Preventative measure have been taken to ensure that a further spread of the outbreak is confined to a small area.

  • Although the virus is mostly spread by mosquitoes, it can also be sexually transmitted
  • Few people die from Zika and only one in five people infected is thought to develop symptoms. These can include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis and muscle and joint pain, but fatalities are rare.
  • It may be more serious for pregnant women, as there’s evidence it causes birth defects – in particular, abnormally small heads. .
  • It was first identified in monkeys in Uganda in 1947. The first human case was detected in Nigeria in 1954 and there have been further outbreaks in Africa, South East Asia and the Pacific Islands. It was only formally described as a distinct virus in 1952.
  • In May 2015 it was reported in Brazil and spread rapidly.
  • As there is no treatment, the only option is to reduce the risk of being bitten.
  • No vaccines or anti-viral drugs are available as prevention or cure.