Zika Virus in India: Stats, Prevention Tips & FAQs

ZIka Virus in India Stats & More
5 Jul 2024
6 mins
Table Of Content
Zika Virus in India: Stats, Prevention Tips & FAQs

    Zika virus cases are increasing in India. Zika virus spreads through the bite of Ades mosquitoes. This virus can spread through sexual intercourse and from a pregnant mother to a fetus. Taking proper preventive measures to safeguard ourselves from this virus is essential. Especially in pregnancy, as this Virus can affect the fetus and can cause chronic congenital conditions such as vision issues and improper brain development. As of July 2, 2024, Maharashtra has reported eight Zika virus cases, with six in Pune, one in Kolhapur, and one in Sangamner.


    In the year 2023, 8 cases of Zika virus were reported in Kerala, with the virus being also identified in mosquitoes in Karnataka. 


    In this blog, we will learn some key factors about the Zika virus, its symptoms, treatments and prevention. So, please keep reading.

    What is Zika Virus disease?


    Zika virus disease is an infection that one gets through the bite of an Aedes mosquito. The Aedes mosquito usually bites during the day. This mosquito is also responsible for causing chikungunya, yellow fever and dengue. 


    Recent studies and findings on the Zika virus


    1. Current Research


    According to a systematic review published in July 2023, the Zika virus (ZIKV) continues to be a global health threat. The review highlights its persistent geographic expansion, with 89 countries and territories documenting transmission. 


    The study emphasises the importance of seroprevalence studies in understanding the true burden of the disease, given that approximately 80% of infections are asymptomatic.


    2. Transmission


    The Pan American Health Organization reported in September 2023 that despite a global reduction in Zika cases since 2017, the virus remains active in 89 countries. The report highlights the various transmission modes, including mosquito bites, sexual contact, blood transfusions, and mother-to-fetus transmission.


    3. Epidemiology


    The World Health Organization's epidemiological update in February 2022 noted ongoing Zika virus transmission in several countries, emphasising the need for continuous vigilance and public health measures.


    How is Zika virus transmitted?


    Zika virus is majorly transmitted through the Aedes mosquitoes. However, Zika virus transmission may also occur through:


    • Sexual intercourse: As the Virus can stay in the body fluids for weeks to months after the person has contracted the infection, it can spread through unprotected sex. Even if the infected person does not experience any of the Zika virus symptoms, they may still pass it on to someone through oral, anal or vaginal sex.
    • From a pregnant mother to the fetus: Zika virus infection can affect the baby by passing through the placenta of an infected mother. This infection can cause congenital conditions in the fetus during birth.
    • Blood transfusions: The Zika virus is present in blood, and it can spread from a Zika virus-infected person to a healthy person through blood transfusions
    • Organ transplantation: Similar to blood transfusion, Zika virus infection can spread from a Zika virus-infected person to a healthy person during organ transplantation.

    What are the various Zika virus symptoms?


    In most cases, individuals infected with the Zika virus don’t develop any symptoms. Individuals who develop symptoms also feel it after 3-14 days of infection. These are usually mild and last for 2-7 days. Some common Zika virus symptoms include:


    • Fever
    • Muscle pain
    • Joint pain
    • Headache Malaise (a feeling of weakness
    • Rash that may itch
    • Redness in the whites of the eyes (conjunctivitis or a pink eye)


    The symptoms of the Zika virus resemble those of other viral infections. However, individuals with a Zika infection do not fall sick enough to be admitted to a hospital. 


    How is Zika Virus Disease diagnosed?


    To diagnose Zika virus disease, your healthcare provider will first look at the symptoms you are presenting with. They will also ask you about your travel history along with a few other questions. If your healthcare provider suspects the Zika virus, then they will order blood tests to confirm the diagnosis. 

    How to treat Zika Virus disease?


    There is no specific treatment available for Zika virus disease. Your healthcare provider will prescribe antipyretics or analgesics to treat Zika virus symptoms. Your healthcare provider will also recommend taking plenty of rest and staying hydrated to manage the symptoms and feel better. Additionally, you will also have to follow the instructions on how to prevent it from spreading. 


    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are to be avoided until your healthcare provider rules out the possibility of dengue. Pregnant women are advised to speak to a healthcare provider before taking any medication.


    In case your symptoms worsen, it is advised to seek emergency care. 


    Expert Advice


    Dr. Curt Horvath, Professor of Molecular Biosciences at Northwestern University, offers insights into the mechanisms by which the Zika virus evades the host's immune response, which is critical for developing antiviral therapies.


    • Dr Horvath's research reveals how Zika virus suppresses the cell’s interferon response, a crucial antiviral defence mechanism.
    • Identifying the specific interactions between the virus and host cells can guide the development of targeted antiviral therapies.
    • Enhanced understanding of Zika virus mechanisms can aid in pandemic preparedness and improve responses to similar viral threats.

    How do I prevent Zika Virus infection?


    There are a few preventive measures that can reduce your risk of contracting Zika virus infection. The various Zika virus prevention measures include the following:


    1. Wear protective clothing: When travelling to areas that are at a risk of Zika or have an ongoing Zika outbreak, then it is best to wear long-sleeved clothes.


    2. Use mosquito repellent creams: Always wear mosquito repellent creams, especially when travelling to high-risk areas.


    3. Use protective window screens: When travelling, stay in rooms that have screens or use a mosquito net to protect yourself. 


    4. Practice safe sex: To prevent contracting Zika virus infection, it is advised to practice safe sex by using condoms if you or your partner has travelled to the area having a Zika virus outbreak.


    5. Avoid travelling to areas with Zika Virus outbreak: If you’re pregnant, As pregnant women can also pass the Zika infection to the fetus, it is best advised to avoid travelling to areas with ongoing Zika outbreaks. 


    FAQs on Zika virus


    What happens if you get the Zika virus?


    If you get Zika virus, you may experience symptoms like fever, rash, pink eye, muscle and joint pain, headaches and malaise for 2-7 days. In some cases, people with Zika infection may not experience any symptoms at all. 

    Can I die from Zika virus?


    While it's very unlikely to die from the Zika virus, it’s important to stay informed and take precautions. Most people experience mild symptoms like fever, rash, and joint pain, and recover fully without severe complications. Practising mosquito control and protecting against bites are effective ways to prevent infection and keep yourself safe.

    Why is the Zika virus bad for pregnancy?


    Zika virus is bad for pregnancy as it can not only spread from mother to child, but also pose a serious risk to the health of the child. Zika virus can cause congenital issues such as eye problems, seizures, and loss of hearing. Zika virus also causes a chronic birth defect called microcephaly, where the head and the brain of the baby are small.

    Can Zika be cured?


    There is no specific treatment or cure for Zika Virus. Depending on your condition and the symptoms you are experiencing, your healthcare provider will prescribe medications. To recover from the Virus, eat healthily, drink lots of fluids, eat healthy meals and take plenty of rest along with your healthcare provider-prescribed medications are to be taken.

    Is there a vaccine for Zika?


    No, currently, there are no vaccinations available for the prevention of Zika virus disease. 

    What will happen if I’m pregnant and get Zika virus disease?


    If you are pregnant and get the Zika virus disease, then you need to consult your healthcare provider immediately. Your healthcare provider will monitor your health and your fetus closely. It is important to note that Zika virus-related congenital and pregnancy complications cannot be prevented. 

    Can the Zika virus go away on its own?


    Usually, like most viral infections, Zika virus infections may also go away on their own. However, it is advised to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully along with proper rest to manage and recover from the Virus. Additionally, pregnant women are advised to see their doctor if they have Zika infection and take proper care. 


    Key takeaways


    While the rise in Zika virus cases in India is concerning, understanding the virus and taking preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of infection. Using mosquito repellents and wearing protective clothing, can protect you from this virus. Pregnant women should be particularly cautious, as the virus poses significant risks to fetal development. Being aware and alert is the key in this case.




    This data and metrics for this blog has been taken from the following sources:


    1. https://www.cdc.gov/zika/about/index.html#:~:text=Zika%20virus%20is%20spread%20mostly,can%20cause%20certain%20birth%20defects.
    2. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/zika-virus
    3. https://www.cdc.gov/zika/signs-symptoms/index.html
    4. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16077-zika-virus#symptoms-and-causes
    5. https://www.who.int/health-topics/zika-virus-disease#tab=tab_1
    6. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/zika-virus
    7. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/zika
    8. https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/index.html
    9. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/pregnant-woman-tests-positive-for-zika-virus-in-india-know-how-zika-virus-affects-foetal-growth/articleshow/111398333.cms
    10. https://www.who.int/india/health-topics/zika
    Written by
    Arwa AliakberB.Pharm3 Years
    AboutArwa Ali Akber is a passionate medical content writer specializing in critical care tips. With a knack for making complex topics accessible, Arwa will get you into the intricacies of health nuances that are known and unknown. Her mission is to enlighten readers, offering insights and guidance to navigate numerous health-related queries.
    Tags :Zika virus symptomszika virus diseasezika virus treatmentzika virus in indiazika virus mosquito