ZIKA VIRUS CASES ON RISE IN MAHARASHTRA: HERE'S HOW IT SPREADS AND AFFECT NEWBORNS?

Pune has recorded another case of Zika virus, taking the infection toll to 12. The fresh infection has been detected in a 31-year-old woman from Kalas, Yerawada. 

Amid the rising cases of Zika virus infection, the civil body of Pune held a meeting with more than 50 hospitals and directed them to report suspected cases to the corporation.

The Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, which is also known to cause infections like dengue and chikungunya.

Although it is a non-fatal disease, when contracted during pregnancy, Zika can cause devastating effects on the developing foetus.

According to Pune Municipal Corporation data, 83 samples from pregnant women with suspected Zika virus infection have been sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune.

Some of the symptoms of the Zika virus are: 

  • rash
  • fever 
  • conjunctivitis 
  • muscle and joint pain 
  • malaise 
  • headache 

How Zika Virus Affect Newborns?

India reported first Zika case from Gujarat State in 2016. Since then, many other States namely Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Karnataka have reported cases subsequently.

Microcephaly is one of the most alarming outcomes, where babies are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains

“This condition can result in long-term physical and intellectual disabilities. It is important to note that not all babies born to women who have Zika virus infection during pregnancy will have birth defects. However, the risk is significant enough that pregnant women must take steps to avoid Zika virus infection,” Dr. Manish Machave, consulting obstetrician, and gynaecological endoscopic surgeon, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune, told IANS.

According to the doctor, an infection in the first trimester appears to be the most risky. 

In addition, Zika infection can cause other serious conditions collectively known as congenital Zika syndrome, Dr. Manish said.

“These include eye defects like damage to the retina and optic nerves, leading to vision problems; hearing impairments with structural and functional issues in the ear; growth restrictions both in the womb and after birth, leading to low birth weight and stunted growth; and joint deformities with limited range of motion in some joints, giving rise to arthrogryposis,” Dr Manish noted.

How Zika Virus Spreads?

Zika virus gets transmitted to a person through the bite of an infected mosquito. When bitten, the first signs are typically mild and can include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.

“Zika virus infection may be suspected based on the symptoms of people living in or visiting areas with Zika virus transmission and or Aedes mosquito vectors. As symptoms are similar to other arboviral infections such as Dengue and chikungunya, diagnosis of Zika virus requires laboratory tests for confirmation and it has to be differentiated from infection due to cross-reactive flaviviruses eg dengue due to similar symptoms and geographical distribution," Dr Niranjan Patil, Associate Vice President (AVP), Scientific Business head- Infectious diseases, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, Mumbai said.

Dr Niranjan Patil said that Zika virus RNA PCR from serum and urine samples are useful in the early infection upto 12 weeks of symptom onset depending upon the case. 

"A negative Zika virus RNA PCR test must be followed by a Zika virus IgM test especially after the first week of symptoms onset and Zika virus IgM antibodies persists for months. IgM antibodies may cross react with other flaviviruses such as dengue," Patil said. 

2024-07-09T15:46:19Z dg43tfdfdgfd