About Zika virus

About Zika virus

  • Zika belongs to a group of viruses called the flaviviruses, which includes dengue, West Nile and yellow fever.
  • Zika virus infect and replicate inside the cells of several species, including humans, monkeys, and mosquitoes.


History of Zika

  • Zika was first isolated from a monkey in the Zika forest of Uganda in 1947.
  • The first human case was reported in 1954.
  • In 2007, the first documented outbreak of Zika took place, on Yap Island in Micronesia.
  • In 2013 and 2014, another Zika outbreak occurred, in French Polynesia and the surrounding islands.
  • Brazil reported a major outbreak of the disease in 2015 where more than 4000 cases were detected.
  • Currently there is no vaccine to prevent infection.



  • The primary mode of Zika transmission is through mosquitoes in the genus Aedes which bite during the day.
  • When a mosquito sucks blood from a person infected with Zika, the virus can infect the cells of the mosquito.
  • Mosquito’s infection develops in a period of about 1 and ½ weeks.
  • When it bites another human, the viral particles can be transmitted to the human, who may contract Zika.
  • Other modes of transmission include
    • Pregnant woman who contracts Zika transmitting the virus to her growing fetus.
    • Sexual contact or through blood transfusions from a Zika-infected donor.



  • Typical symptoms may include rash, fever, conjunctivitis (irritation of the eyes), and joint pain.
  • Pregnant women and their unborn fetuses are at higher risk for harmful effects from Zika.
  • There is a link between Zika infection during pregnancy and a condition called microcephaly in newborns.
  • Microcephaly may involve neurological problems or developmental delays.
  • In some rare cases, it may be linked with Guillain-Barré syndrome.
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune condition that causes paralysis, which is usually temporary.


Zika in India

  • In India, the Zika virus was first found in Pune 65 years ago.
  • In 2017 three cases infected with mosquito-borne Zika virus were detected in Ahmedabad.
  • India has not witnessed a major outbreak.
  • However India provides fertile climate for the aedes egypti mosquito to grow and multiply.
  • Thus there is the potential of an outbreak situation in the country.


Section : Science & Tech