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State-wide alert in Kerala due to Zika virus

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    Science & Technology
  • Published
    12th Jul, 2021


Health authorities in Kerala have declared a state of alert in all districts after identifying 14 cases of Zika virus.

What is Zika?

  • Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus.
  • The viral infection is transmitted mostly by the bite of infected Aedes species mosquitoes ( aegypti and A. albopictus).
  • These mosquitoes bite during the day and night.
  • These are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
  • Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
  • Additionally, it can be transmitted sexually and blood transfusion (very likely but not confirmed).


  • Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda.
  • In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected.
  • Since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
  • In 2015, a major outbreak in Brazil led to the revelation that Zika can be associated with microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with small and underdeveloped brains.
  • WHO declared the Zika infection with clusters of microcephaly and other neurological disorders as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Passage to India

  • First recorded in 1952-53, India reported an outbreak in Gujarat in 2016-17.
  • This was followed by major outbreaks in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in 2018.

Zika symptoms

  • Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Red eyes
  • Muscle pain
  • Symptoms can last for several days to a week.
  • People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.
  • Once a person has been infected with Zika, they are likely to be protected from future infections.

Risky for some people

  • Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other severe brain defects.
  • It is also linked to other problems, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and other birth defects.
  • There have also been increased reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, in areas affected by Zika.



  • There is no specific medicine or vaccine for Zika virus.
  • But the symptoms are managed which includes rest, consumption of plenty of fluids, common pain and fever medicines, etc.