KOCHI: A 34-year-old health worker, a native of Vazhakkulam and presently working at Thiruvananthapuram has been infected with Zika virus. It is the first time a native of Ernakulam district is getting infected with the virus since its outbreak in the state. The health worker arrived in Kochi from Thiruvananthapuram on July 12 and following symptoms including fever her samples were collected on July 14 and sent for testing to Virology Institute at Alappuzha. After the tests, it was confirmed that she was infected with Zika virus.
According to health officials, her family members do not have any symptoms related to the infection. In the wake of Zika virus being reported in Kochi, preventive measures in the region have been strengthened by the health department. The health department officials visited the region and a rapid response team meeting was also held. Activities including fogging, and indoor space spraying were carried out by the district vector control unit, Vazhakkulam.
Since the virus poses a threat to pregnant women, health officials have advised caution. "No symptoms were found in pregnant women in the region. We have tested blood samples of some pregnant women in the region and no Zika virus infection was found," said a health official. District Collector Jafar Malik held a meeting with various heads of departments including health, and local self-government on Saturday in order to review the activities being carried out in the district to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.
What is Zika virus?
Zika virus is a disease caused by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite normally during the day and night. Zika virus is spread to people mainly through the bite of an infected mosquito.
In most cases, there will not be any symptoms or would be mild. But common symptoms include fever, rashes, headache, joint pain, muscle pain, and conjunctivitis. Symptoms may last for 2-7 days.
HOW TO PREVENT?
Avoiding mosquito bites is the best way to prevent Zika. Mosquito repellents and nets should be used to prevent bites. Dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs. Also, ensure there is no water stagnation at homes and premises.