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Zika Virus: The Dos And Don'ts

The Varanasi department of health has released precautionary dos and don'ts to prevent oneself from the Zika virus.

Zika Virus: The Dos And Don

People should take precautionary measures to prevent mosquito bites

The World Health Organization (WTO) bulletin confirmed India's first three Zika virus cases in Gujarat. Since then the Varanasi department of health has released precautionary dos and don’ts to prevent oneself from the disease. Though there have been no filed cases of the virus, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. VB Singh issued the alert for general public. "Though no case of Zika virus is detected in this region, people should take precautionary measures to prevent mosquito bite," said the CMO adding that there is no need of panic, just follow some dos and don'ts.

 According to the WHO website it says that Zika virus infection during pregnancy could cause congenital brain abnormalities, including microcephaly which is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.  Zika virus is also a trigger for Guillain-Barré syndrome in which body's immune system attacks a part of the peripheral nervous system. The first symptoms of this disorder include varying degrees of weakness or tingling sensations in the legs.

Symptoms of the disease are similar to that of other ARBO VIRUS diseases like dengue which are pain in muscle and joints, rashes, conjunctivitis, fever and headache. The incubation period of the disease has not been specified yet. If one develops symptoms and lives in or visited an area where the Zika virus outbreaks are reported then one needs to consult qualified medical practitioner.

The real-time RT-PCR (RRT-PCR) test and ZIKA Mac-ELISA test may be used for the diagnosis of Zika virus infection. Even the RNA-NAT (nucleic acid test) may be performed on the serum collected during the first two weeks of commencement of the Zika virus infection.

Since there is no vaccination available for prevention purposes, it is advised to prevent oneself from mosquito bites itself.  

Following are the precautionary dos and don’ts –

DOS

1. Empty, drain or cover all things that can and may hold water. Areas of your backyard or porch may have spots where rainwater can pool. Barrels and trash cans tend to collect rainwater extremely well. Old tires, empty bottles, buckets, and other small containers can condense water vapor into tiny pools. Empty and drain all pools of water and cover them up to prevent more water from gathering.

2. Keep the rain gutters and drains clean. If they are filled with debris, they will trap water during the next rainfall instead of letting it drain. Mosquitoes will then breed in this standing water.

3. Clean bird baths weekly. If you have a bird bath outside your house, the stagnant water is a perfect place for mosquitoes to lay eggs.

4. Mosquito eating fish for your garden If you have a water garden, consider adding some mosquito-eating fish, such as minnows or mosquito fish. They are hardy, easy to care for, and love to feast on mosquito larva.

5. Apply mosquito repellant creams and sprays regularly, especially if you’re going out and about.

6. Wear covered clothes.

7. Use nets in your bed room and hospitals.

DON’TS

1. Do not let water collect anywhere, it provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

2. Don't throw broken utensils, unused bottles, tin, old tires and other junk materials here and there as Aedes mosquitoes breed in these objects during rainy season.

3. If the symptoms do not disappear do not avoid going to the doctor.

4. Avoid sexual contact with persons experiencing flu symptoms.

(With inputs from ANI)
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