Explained: Kerala detects 15 cases of Zika virus; what is it?

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

Kerala is on alert after detecting at least 15 cases of the Zika Virus.

About Zika Virus:
  • Zika is a viral infection, spread by mosquitoes. The vector is the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue and chikungunya.

Origin of Zika Virus:

  • Zika Virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. Zika was later identified in humans in 1952.
  • The first large outbreak of disease caused by Zika infection was reported from the Island of Yap in 2007.
  • 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.
  • In India, the Zika virus was first recorded in 1952-53. The latest major outbreak was in 2018 when 80 cases were reported in Rajasthan.
Transmission of Zika Virus:
  • Through mosquito bites: Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus).
  • From mother to child: A pregnant woman can pass the Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy. Zika is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.
  • Sexual Transmission: Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her partners. Zika can be passed through sex, even if the infected person does not have symptoms at the time.
Symptoms of Zika Virus:
  • Most people infected with the Zika virus do not develop symptoms.
  • The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of Zika virus disease is estimated to be 3-14 days.
  • The symptoms are similar to those of flu, including fever, body ache, headache, etc. Additional symptoms can include the occasional rash-like in dengue, while some patients also have conjunctivitis.


  • Zika has no treatment or vaccine. The symptoms of the Zika virus are mild and usually require rest, consumption of plenty of fluids, and common pain and fever medicines.
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