Avoid starting a family during the Zika infection season

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

New cases reported in India; people should be aware of symptoms and measures

New Delhi, 10 October 2018: A total of 22 positive laboratory confirmed cases of Zika virus infection have been detected so far in Jaipur, Rajasthan. And, this number will only rise. On Sunday, the Health Ministry sounded an alert for Bihar after a student of computer science from Siwan, studying in Jaipur, tested positive for the Zika virus. He was in Siwan between August 28 and September 12 to appear for an exam.

Zika virus disease is an emerging disease currently being reported by 86 countries worldwide. The symptoms of Zika virus disease are similar to those in other viral infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Zika virus is gaining foothold in India and is now here to stay. Public awareness about Zika is low and diagnostic facilities are not available everywhere. In August 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines for preconception counseling and prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus for men with possible virus exposure. Relevant exposure is defined as residence in or travel to an area where mosquito-borne transmission of Zika virus infection has been reported, or unprotected sexual contact with a person who meets these criteria.For couples not trying to conceive, CDC recommends that men use condoms or abstain from sex for at least 3 months after symptom onset (if symptomatic) or their last possible virus exposure (if asymptomatic).”

While enhanced surveillance, community-based including at international airports and ports, to track cases of acute febrile illness is the need of the hour, creating public awareness about the disease including preventive measures should be the focus. At the same time, the public should be assured that there is no need to panic.”

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Winter is on the horizon and so is the marriage season. In India, it will commence from the end of Chaturmas in November. All newly-weds should avoid starting a family if one of them has or is recovering from dengue-like illness. It is imperative to rule out Zika virus infection first.”

Hygiene and sanitation are the cornerstones for preventing mosquito-borne disease such as Zika. This is also one aspect of preventive health, a topic that will be discussed widely in the 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela 2018. The event will take place from 23rd to 27th October at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.

Some tips from HCFI

Use of measures to protect against mosquito bites is very important to prevent Zika infection such as using insect repellent, covering as much of the body as possible with long, light-colored clothing, eliminating places where mosquitoes can breed and putting screens on windows and doors. People traveling to high risk areas should take protections from mosquito bites. Pregnant women should avoid traveling to high risk areas.