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First Zika Virus Case in Delhi Confirmed: What to Know

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After its spread in neighbouring state Uttar Pradesh last month, Delhi has identified its first case of Zika virus.

The patient is a 61 year old man from Shadipur in Northeast Delhi, who was admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital with fever and body ache last week, reported the Times of India.

An RT-PCR test conducted by the hospital, reportedly, found the patient to be positive for Zika virus RNA. This was further confirmed by both AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) and NIV (National Institute of Virology), Pune.

The patient is currently being kept under close observation at the hospital. And an alert has been issued in the area around his residence, reported the Times of India.

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The ABCs of Zika

According to the World Health Organisation, Zika virus is a mosquito borne viral infection, primarily spread by the Aedes mosquito.

The first case of Zika in humans was reported in 1952 in Uganda, and since then it has spread to other countries.

How does Zika spread?

What are some precautions you can take to protect yourselves?

Here are some FAQs about the virus, answered.

How does Zika Spread?

How Zika Virus Spreads

(Photo: FIT)

Apart from getting bitten by infected mosquitoes, Zika can also spread through the exchange of bodily fluids like semen and blood. It can also be passed on from a pregnant mother to their foetus.

What symptoms of Zika should you look out for?

Symptoms of Zika virus infection

(Photo: FIT)

The good news is that although it can spread fast, Zika typically causes only mild symptoms if at all, according to the WHO.

Common symptoms of a zika virus infection include,

  • Fever

  • Body rashes

  • Headaches

  • Muscle and joint pain

  • Conjunctivitis

People who do develop these symptoms typically recover within 2 to 7 days, and hospitalisation is rarely required, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, the virus has been found to be deadlier in pregnant women. IT can cause complications such as premature birth and misscarraige.

According to WHO, Zika infection during pregnancy can also lead to the baby being born with congenital malformations called congenital Zika syndrome.

How is it treated?

Zika Virus Treatment Option

(Photo: FIT)

Testing for zika virus is done with RT-PCR tests — the process is similar to COVID testing—using serum, throat swab and urine samples of the suspected patient.

The infection doesn't have a drug or treatment as such, other than just symptomatic care.

Experts recommend keeping the fever under control, drinking plenty of fluids, and resting up.

How can you protect yourself against Zika?

Like in most cases, prevention is the key when it comes to zika virus as well.

  • Wear fully-covered clothes, and use mosquito repellents, especially in the monsoon to winter months, to protect yourselves from mosquito bites.

  • The US CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) also advices against touching blood or body fluids without wearing protective gloves. If you do get some on your clothes, remove and wash them immediately.

  • Use condoms to reduce the chance of catching sexually transmitted Zika along with other STIs.

  • Maintain hand hygiene and wash them with water and soap frequently.

  • If you are pregnant be extra cautious and avoid travelling to areas with Zika outbreaks altogether.

(Written with inputs from Times of India and WHO.)

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