Zika Virus

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Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that is spread by the Aedes species of mosquito, the mosquito also responsible for the transmission of dengue and chikungunya viruses.1-3

Unlike malaria-carrying mosquitos, this species is mostly active during the day and so barrier methods such as mosquito nets are ineffective. These mosquitos can survive in both indoor and outdoor environments.

The most common symptoms of Zika are

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis (red eyes)
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

Treatment

Zika virus disease is usually mild and requires no specific treatment. People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice. There is currently no vaccine available.

Prevention

Mosquito bites

Protection against mosquito bites is a key measure to prevent Zika virus infection. This can be done by wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as window screens or closing doors and windows; sleeping under mosquito nets; and using insect repellent containing DEET, IR3535 or icaridin according to the product label instructions.

It is important to cover, empty or clean potential mosquito breeding sites in and around houses such as buckets, drums, pots, gutters, and used tyres. Communities should support local government efforts to reduce mosquitoes in their locality. Health authorities may also advise that spraying of insecticides be carried out.

 

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