Mosquitoes are the root cause of several diseases across the world, including the zika virus mosquito. Their from one person to another. This leads to millions of illnesses around the world each year. Not just illness, but they also claim a number of lives each year. Some common diseases spread by mosquitoes include malaria, dengue, chikungunya, zika virus and others. Spraying mosquito insecticides through fumigation to stop these diseases may not be as effective as it generally seems.
These vector-borne diseases are a nuisance to mankind and just using insect repellents may not be enough. However, being alert and getting rid of these diseases lie in our hand itself. Today, we’ll dive deeper into learning about the zika fever diseases. When you’re done reading this, you’ll know much more about its symptoms, zika virus treatment and the presence of the disease in India.
What is the Zika Virus?
Just like you have the dengue virus, the zika virus is another deadly virus spread through zika virus mosquito bites. Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the virus family Flaviviridae. This is the same family of the dengue causing viruses (DENV 1-4). Another similarity between zika and dengue is the diseases causing mosquito. The Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus species of mosquitoes spreads the zika fever virus. Bites from these mosquitoes also cause diseases like dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
The zika virus is not as old as the other mosquito diseases. The first trace of this virus was found in Uganda as late as 1947. The virus was found in monkeys, by a group that was actually studying yellow fever. This virus was first found in humans in 1952, in Uganda, before spreading to Tanzania and other parts of Africa. Subsequently, it spread to the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific. By the time the first real zika fever outbreak was recorded, it was already the 21st century. Please ensure you carry insect repellent or use natural mosquito repellents when travelling to any of these regions.
Zika virus in India
The Zika 101 will now get into its introduction in India. The virus was first discovered in Pune while researching for an immunity to various types of encephalitis. However, the presence of the virus has been growing in the last decade in India. Indian provides the climate necessary for the growth of the zika virus mosquito – the carrier of the dengue virus as well. There are fears that there could be zika epidemics in India soon, just like how the presence of dengue has increased in India over the years.
This zika virus mosquito breeds in fresh water and with the monsoons on in full swing, the chances of it spreading are high. A 2017 World Health Organization (WHO) report has provided evidence of the circulation of the zika virus in India. The report suggests that the zika virus is on the rise in the entire South East Asia region. Stay alert. Use good mosquito and insect repellents. You wouldn’t want to be the next victim. Hopefully, our Zika Virus 101 blog will help you understand the symptoms and zika virus treatment. Zika is the latest health scare to grip the country. It was only last year (2017) that the first 3 confirmed cases of zika fever were announced by the Indian government.
The first confirmed zika victims in India:
- A 64-year old male
- A 34-year old new mother
- A 22-year old pregnant woman
India has stringent lab surveillance systems in place to detect the presence of zika. However, what was shocking was the case of the 34-year old woman who just gave birth to a healthy child. The woman had no travel history in three months or history of fever during pregnancy. Shocking, right? Yes, and scary too.
Getting bites from a zika virus mosquito is not the only way of contracting the zika fever. However, this isn’t true! Since it originated in animals, zika virus can be transmitted through the bites of infected animals or stings or insects. The virus also transmits through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected person. As part of our Zika Virus 101 blog, we will also teach you about the zika virus symptoms.
Zika Virus Symptoms
Let us now educate you on the symptoms of the zika fever. While there aren’t usually too many zika virus symptoms, contracting the diseases could have far reaching effects. The symptoms are mild are compared to malaria or dengue. There is no vaccine or specific zika virus treatment out yet. You can see the zika symptoms a couple of days after being bitten. Generally, the symptoms last for up to a week.
complications could arise in the case of pregnant women contracting the disease. It can cause something known as microcephaly in the unborn baby. Microcephaly is a brain defect that could lead to the baby being born with a brain and head smaller in size than the usual. The virus can also lead to loss of pregnancy, disability in the baby, stillbirth or other complications.
List of common zika virus symptoms:
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
- Muscle pain
- Pain behind the eyes
Zika Virus Treatment
Using natural mosquito repellents is one way of zika virus prevention. Using insect repellents is another way. The zika virus remains in the blood of the victim for around a week. If zika virus symptoms are felt, the victim should visit the doctor for a blood test as soon as possible. Once infected, it is unlikely that the victim can contract the zika fever again in the future. You very rarely require hospitalization in the case of zika fever.
What is advised if you believe you have zika virus symptoms:
- Visit a doctor. Do a blood test.
- Get complete bed rest.
- Consume plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Take paracetamol medicines for a reduction in fever and pain.
- Avoid medicines like aspirins which will lead to increased bleeding.
- Talk to your doctor if are in need of a stronger dose or are on any other kind of medication.
Also remember to take the necessary precautions while taking care of a friend or family member who has contracted the zika fever virus. Use the necessary insect repellents to avoid getting it yourself. While treating the victim, avoid contact with the patient’s blood or other body fluids. Wash your hands with soap if they come in contact with the same. Also wash clothes thoroughly if they come in contact with any body fluids of the victim.
What is fogging/fumigation?
If we are covering the topic of Zika Virus 101, we have to mention fogging or fumigation. This is a technique of insect control that is taken up by the government or by private pest control services. Blowers spray mosquito insecticides in this method. A hot vapour is blown out sometimes to keep the mosquito insecticides air-borne for a long period. Fogging is generally used to carry out studies about various kinds of research but is used to get rid of insects as well.
Fogging treatment in your building
Mosquito fogging drives in buildings and residential societies are very common in India. They do this particularly during or before the monsoons, at times around dusk and dawn. Fumigation is an effective way of killing adult mosquitoes that have various hideouts in your building. A mosquito fogger is a machine used for this purpose. These mosquito foggers spray the mosquito insecticides, causing a fog that reaches the depths of grasses, killing mosquitoes and other insects.
Is it an effective method to control/get rid of the disease?
Now, let’s get to answering the question asked in the Zika 101 blog title itself. Yes, fogging is an effective measure of reducing mosquito infestations in our buildings and localities. However, it doesn’t do much to get rid of the zika disease altogether. As mentioned above, you can contract zika through ways apart from just mosquito bites.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Mosquito Control Association, the use of mosquito foggers and fumigation are actually the least effective ways of controlling mosquito populations. The Indian government carries out regular fogging attempts.
While it does a good job of killing mosquitoes flying around in the air, the WHO stresses on the fact that this is highly ineffective. Less focus should be on fumigation, but more focus on eliminating the mosquito breeding sites around the country. Fumigation also contains chemicals that could be injurious to human health.
Zika 101 blog conclusion
Zika: Zika is a relatively new disease in India, but so was dengue a few years back. Don’t take such diseases lightly as it doesn’t take long for outbreaks to begin and symptoms to worsen. Recognize the zika virus symptoms and thereafter, follow the necessary zika virus treatment. Also, personal hygiene and sexual activity must be under control as mosquitoes aren’t the only transmitters of this disease.
Fumigation: While mosquito foggers do kill mosquitoes, the method is highly ineffective in reducing the spread of mosquito diseases such as malaria, dengue and zika fever. Fumigation should only be used in emergency situations. The Government of India should re-think its strategy for controlling mosquito breeding sites. This should be the focus, rather than using mosquito foggers for killing existing mosquitoes. With this, we come to an end of our Zika 101, hoping we have done well to teach you something. Remember to contact HiCare for mosquito control services, which will do a better job of eradicating mosquitoes than we can.
Hope you learnt something from our Zika Virus 101 blog!