(Sample Material) Study Kit on Current Affairs for UPSC Mains Exam: Science and Technology: Zika Virus

(Sample Material) Study Kit on Current Affairs for UPSC Mains Examination

Science and Technology: Zika Virus

  • Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people ‘primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.
  • About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.
  • The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms typically begin 2 to 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
  • Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes.
  • It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth.
  • It can also be transmitted, through semen, blood and needles.
  • Though the presence of virus is found in saliva, urine and breast milk transmission through these medium is not noticed.
  • Anyone who is living in or travelling to an area where Zika virus is found who has not already been infected with Zika virus is at risk for infection, including pregnant women.
  • Children born out of infected pregnant women are affected with microcephaly - an abnormally small head, often with consequent brain damage.
  • Risk of direct transmission between people remote; but virus has been isolated in semen so sexual transmission cannot be ruled out.


  • There, is no vaccine or specific medicine to treat, Zika virus infections.
  • Around 80% of infections do not result in symptoms
  • Treat the symptoms:
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take medicine such as acetaminophen to reduce fever and pain.
  • Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.


  • First isolated in 1947, from a, rhesus monkey in Uganda’s Zika forest
  • It has caused small sporadic outbreaks in Africa, S East Asia
  • Its first significant outbreak was in 2013-14 in French Polynesia
  • Probably’ reached the Americas” in 2014, when an infected traveller was bitten by a local mosquito Brazilian researchers reported Zika in the amnlotic fluid of women carrying foetuses with microcephaly
  • Gulllain-Barre, a rare autoimmune disorder that leads to paralysis is also being linked to Zika.
  • US agency CDC is viewing Guillain-Barre as a serious risk, helping Brazil conduct study to evaluate if link exists between the condition and Zika virus
  • The mosquito-borne virus arrived in Brazil last May, has since spread to 17 countries in the Americas
  • In Brazil 1.5m people infected
  • Nation declares health emergency in Dec 2015
  • Brazil and EI Salvador saw sharp increase in severe neurological problems that can lead to paralysis in this period.
  • Brazilian researchers reported Zika in the amniotic fluid of women carrying foetus with microcephaly
  • Jan 15: US diseases control agency CDC advised pregnant women not to travel to Zika affected places

Lassa fever

  • As the world ramps up its fight against the Zika virus, West Africa is battling to contain a growing outbreak of Lass fever.
  • Right now, there are a total of 20 suspected cased with nine deaths, said Benin government health official.
  • Lassa fever belongs to the same family as Marburg and Ebola, two deadly viruses that lead to infection with fever, vomiting and, in worse case scenarios, hemorrhagic bleeding.
  • Its name is from the town of Lassa in northern Nigeria where it was first identified in 1969.
  • Endemic to the region, Lassa fever is asymptomatic in 90 percent of cases but for others it can cause internal bleeding, especially when diagnosed late. The virus is spread through contact with food or household items contaminated with rats, urine or faces or after coming in direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

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