All you need to know about Zika Virus

All you need to know about Zika Virus

What is Important?
UPSC perspective:
Prelims: Zika virus related key facts.

Mains Paper 3: India’s rise in innovations in Pharma sector & Preventive measures .

Non-UPSC perspective:What is it?

Why in News

Recently, 50 people have tested positive for Zika virus  in Rajasthan’s Jaipur district.

                Zika virus

What is Zika virus?

*Zika is similar to dengue fever, yellow fever and West Nile virus spread by the Aedes egypti mosquito.

*It was first identified in 1947 in Zika Forest, Uganda from where it derives its name.

*Infections in pregnant women can cause children to be born with brain deficiencies.

*World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared the Zika virus to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on February 1, 2016.

*This was done post an outbreak in Brazil and other Latin American countries and its association with birth defects (microcephaly) in newborns.

*It ceased to be a Public Health Emergency on November 18, 2016.

Transmission of Zika virus

*Zika virus is transmitted from one people to another through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, mainly Aedes aegypti in tropical regions.

*There has been one report of possible spread of the virus through blood transfusion and one report of possible spread of the virus through sexual contact.

*In 2015, Zika virus RNA was detected in the amniotic fluid of two fetuses, indicating that it had crossed the placenta and could cause a mother-to-child infection.

*The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is also known to transmit the virus, but it is not clear how efficiently.

*To date, there are no reports of infants getting Zika virus through breastfeeding.


*No vaccine exists to prevent Zika virus disease (Zika). Hence prevention and control relies on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people.

*This can be done by using insect repellent; wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows; and sleeping under mosquito nets. It is also important to empty, clean or cover containers that can hold water such as buckets, flower pots or tyres, so that places where mosquitoes can breed are removed.

What is the difference between Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya?

*All these diseases present similar symptoms, but certain symptoms suggest one disease or another:

*Dengue usually presents with higher fever and more severe muscle pain. There can be complications when the fever breaks: attention should be paid to warning signs such as bleeding.

*Chikungunya presents with higher fever and more intense joint pain, affecting the hands, feet, knees, and back. It can disable people, bending them over so that they cannot walk or perform simple actions such as opening a water bottle.

*Zika does not have clearly characteristic features, but most patients have skin rashes and some have conjunctivitis.

Response from Indian Government

*India’s Health Ministry issued health advisory, appointing National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); as the nodal agency for investigation of outbreak:

The ministry issued a detailed press release stating that:

• The NCDC, Delhi and National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, would be the apex laboratories to support the outbreak investigation and for confirmation of laboratory diagnosis.

• Ten additional laboratories would be strengthened by ICMR to expand the scope of laboratory diagnosis.

• Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) shall be activated at Central and State surveillance units. Each team in the RRT would comprise an epidemiologist, public health specialist, microbiologist and a medical and paediatric specialist and other experts (entomologist etc) to travel at short notice to investigate suspected outbreak.

• Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) through its community and hospital based data gathering mechanism would track clustering of acute febrile illness and seek primary case, if any, among those who travelled to areas with ongoing transmission in the 2 weeks preceding the onset of illness.

Drugs Controller General of India

*Drug Controller General of India under the gamut of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization is responsible for approval of licenses of specified categories of drugs such as blood and blood products, IV fluids, vaccines and sera in India.

*DCGI lays down the standard and quality of manufacturing, selling, import and distribution of drugs in India.

*It acts as appellate authority in case of any dispute regarding the quality of drugs.

*Under the Drug and Cosmetics Act, the regulation of manufacture, sale, and distribution of Drugs is primarily the concern of the State authorities.

*The Central Authorities are responsible for approval of New Drugs, Clinical Trials in the country, laying down the standards for Drugs, control over the quality of imported Drugs, coordination of the activities of State Drug Control Organisations.

*Indian Pharmacopoeial Commission is an Autonomous Institution under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India dedicated for setting of standards for drugs, pharmaceuticals and healthcare devices/ technologies etc besides providing Reference Substances and Training.

All you need to know about Zika Virus All you need to know about Zika Virus Reviewed by The Hindu Current Affairs on October 13, 2018 Rating: 5

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