DAK warns of Zika virus threat in Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) Saturday warned of possible Zika virus threat in Kashmir as the virus is believed to have crossed over to the common mosquito.

President DAK Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan in a statement to CNS said that up until now it was thought that aedes aegypti mosquito, which is confined to tropics, was solely spreading the virus, but scientists in Brazil believe that the virus is being carried and transmitted by the much more common culex mosquito.   

They say they are as little as a month away from confirming that the virus is transmitted by common mosquito.

Culex is commonly found in Kashmir and health authorities cannot afford to be complacent about the situation.

They must prepare and prepare now against the threat with a focus on strengthening the surveillance system.

The best way is to prevent it from coming in as once the virus enters the community it is difficult to control.

As of now so little is known about the virus and we are still learning about it and we do not know how it will behave in coming days.

The virus has been linked to thousands of cases of babies born in Brazil with abnormally small heads. The virus is also suspected of causing Guillain- Barre syndrome in some patients, in which immune system attacks the nervous system causing weakness and sometimes paralysis.

Zika virus should be considered in any patient with acute onset fever, rash, joint pains or red eyes who travelled to or resided in an area with ongoing transmission.

No vaccine or preventive drug is available and the only way to prevent it is to avoid mosquito bites. Pregnant women or those who are trying to become pregnant should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.

If they do travel, they should consult their doctors before travelling to these areas and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip. (CNS)

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