11 October

Zika Virus and Pregnancy

Rajasthan recently recorded the biggest outbreak of Zika virus in the history of India.

What is Zika Virus?

Zika virus is a disease caused by Zika virus and it spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, similar to the one which causes Dengue.

History of Zika virus

Zika virus was first identified in Uganda initially in a monkey and later in humans too. The major outbreak which happened in 2015 in Brazil, caused panic and an association was reported between the birth of babies with microcephaly and pregnant women infected with Zika virus.

What are the symptoms of Zika virus infection?

Few people who show signs of a Zika infection, the illness is often very mild. Symptoms similar to the flu can occur like - a low-grade fever, headache, rash, muscle and joint pain, and conjunctivitis (pink eye).

Zika Virus infection and Pregnancy

Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects, pregnancy loss or a baby born with an abnormally small head and brain—a condition known as microcephaly, it has also been linked to hearing loss, vision problems, and impaired growth in babies, according to the CDC.

Brazil has been disproportionately affected, with thousands of babies suffering severe birth defects, including brain damage, in utero when their mothers contracted the virus. But it has now spread to more than three dozen countries.

If a pregnant woman or her partner is known to have travelled to a country with Zika virus infection and shows symptoms or sonography of the mother shows abnormalities, it is required  to monitor the growth of the baby through sonography


- Protection against mosquito bites during the day and early evening is a key measure to prevent Zika virus infection similar to any infections like Dengue spread by mosquitoes. Special attention should be given to prevention of mosquito bites among pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and young children.

- If you may have been exposed either during travel to an active Zika infection area, if you live in an active area, or if you could have been exposed through sexual contact, Please contact your doctor even if you are not showing any symptoms. Your doctor will order blood or urine tests to see if you are positive for the virus


There is no treatment available for Zika virus infection or its associated diseases.

Symptomatic treatment in the form of getting plenty of rest, drink fluids and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, one should seek medical care and advice.


Dr Padma

Dr Padma is a Family care physician and is the Founder and CEO of MedHealthTV.


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