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Zika virus surfaces in Kerala

Zika virus surfaces in Kerala

While there has been a surge in coronavirus cases in Kerala, the state has also reported, for the first time, 13 cases of Zika virus which is a mosquito-borne viral infection.

The samples from the Thiruvananthapurum district of the state have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for further analysis.

The symptoms of Zika virus include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain and headache.

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According to the World Health Organisation, Zika virus is caused by Aedes mosquitoes, known for being active during the day. It was first detected among monkeys in Uganda in 1947, and was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Outbreaks of Zika virus have been detected in Asia, Africa, America and the Pacific islands.

Aedes mosquitoes, which are also carriers of dengue, breed in stagnant freshwater and rest mostly indoors.

Zika virus has often been linked to birth defects and development of Guillain-Barre syndrome, where one's immune system attacks the nerves. Some people infected by it might not show any signs or symptoms. However, in pregnant women the infection can seriously harm the developing foetus and lead to congenital anomalies.