Raichur, Dec 20: The authorities at the Karnataka Health Department heaved a sigh of relief after 21 pregnant women tested negative for Zika virus on Tuesday.
Reports of 30 more expectant mothers are awaited.
Their samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune against the backdrop of a five-year-old girl testing positive for Zika virus last week in Raichur district. The remaining reports are expected in a couple of days, according to sources.
The Health department is on high alert mode following the confirmation of the first case of Zika virus in the state. The state government had issued directions for the health department to initiate all precautionary measures to contain the spread of the disease.
Dr Aditya S Chowti, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital at Cunningham Road in Bangalore stated pregnant women must be careful regarding this disease, as there is an increased risk of miscarriage, including serious birth defects in infants. So, it is best to have some preventive measures to prevent contracting this disease. Everyone must take the necessary methods to prevent mosquito bites. Also, ensure that the mosquitoes’ breeding grounds are destroyed or not allowed to happen.
Zika fever is a vector-borne viral disease caused by the Zika virus and is spread through mosquito bites. There are some specific complications. In rare cases, it can cause a nervous system complication, which we call Guillain-Barre syndrome. It can be possible even in people who don’t show blatant symptoms of the infection, he said.
Dr Ramesh B.R., Consultant – Pulmonology, Manipal Hospital Malleshwaram stated that Zika is a virus primarily transmitted by a type of mosquito called Aedes. In most cases, people diagnosed with this virus don’t show symptoms, however in some people they show symptoms like fever, rash, mild body ache, joint pains, headache, and malaise which is commonly seen in other seasonal viruses also.
It is essential for pregnant women to be careful because if they catch the infection the infant may develop some neurological complications. This infection can also cause preterm birth and some infants may experience deformity. There are no neurological symptoms seen among adults and children, he explained.
Zika virus was first reported in African countries way back in 1947. Currently, there are no vaccines available to treat this viral disease. The best way to control this infection is by adopting preventive methods like avoiding potential breeding grounds. Mosquitoes can cause many other viral diseases like dengue, malaria, and so on. It is essential to take environmental measures to prevent the spread of infection from one person to another person.
Dr Ramesh explained, although there is one case reported in Karnataka, the government is taking strict measures to prevent the spread of the disease. If any person is suffering from the disease for more than a week, then one must consult their doctor and get evaluated immediately.
There are already many viruses and seasonal flu in the air including the common flu, H1N1, and even Corona variants. Most of the symptoms of these diseases overlap, which can lead to wrong diagnosis, hence laboratory tests are essential for the right diagnosis. The best way to control this disease is by monitoring the spread and early diagnosis, Dr Ramesh stated.