The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed India’s first Zika cases yesterday. A Ministry of Health report claimed that all three confirmed cases are from the same locality in Ahmedabad in Gujarat. The Zika Virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection. The virus can cause an infection which can lead to birth defects in infants called microcephaly, according to the Indian Express.
Microcephaly is a condition defined by small skulls and is linked to brain damage. The disease may also cause other abnormalities such as seizures, deafness, blindness and other congenital defects. It can also lead to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a form of temporary paralysis in adults with links to other neurological complications, as per an IE report.
The virus is spread by female mosquitos of the Aedes aegypti variety, the insect also spreads yellow fever dengue and chikungunya. The mosquito usually bites during the day, the mosquitoes are particularly active during the morning and the evening. Scientist say the mosquito’s transmitting capacity increases with temperature, according to the Indian Express.
The other symptoms of the virus are similar to dengue such as fever, which very rarely crosses the 102-degree Fahrenheit mark, skin rashes, bloodshot eyes, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. National guidelines and action plans to tackle the disease have been shared with the states to prevent an outbreak of the disease, as reported by IE.
Before these three cases, the only time any trace of the Zika virus were recorded in India was in 1952-53. Health Commissioner of Gujarat, J P Gupta told Sunday Express that all three patients are now Zika free and are leading normal lives.