Geneva: Yesterday, The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that a surge in serious birth defects in South America was strongly suspected of being caused by the Zika virus and constituted an international health emergency. The UN health body said that a causal relationship between the mosquito-borne Zika virus and a surge in cases of microcephaly , a devastating condition in which a baby is born with an abnormally small head and brain, was “strongly suspected”, and declared the situation a public health emergency of international concern.
ZIKA is a virus that is spread through the bite of Aedes Aegypti mosquito which also causes dengue and chikungunya. This virus causes microcephaly. Children, in such cases, are born abnormal with a small brain and big eyes. The symptoms of the disease are moderate fever, skin rash, headaches, joints and muscle pain or soreness, fatigue, red eyes. These symptoms emerge between three days to a week after a person is bitten by a mosquito. To date there is no vaccine or specific drug for the treatment of Zika virus.
People infected by the virus should get plenty of rest, drink fluids to prevent dehydration, and take medicines prescribed by a medical practitioner to reduce fever. People should use mosquito repellents and mosquito nets. Stringent measures should also be taken to ensure there are no pools of stagnant water. People should exercise caution and avoid visiting affected countries like the USA and Brazil.