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Zika in India: Pregnant women need to know these 7 things about the virus

India TV Lifestyle Desk New Delhi 01 Jun 2017, 18:21:20 IST
India TV Lifestyle Desk

Three cases of Zika has already been found in Ahmedabad, India. This makes India loses its identity as a Zika-free country. All the three cases of Zika found in Gujarat have no travel history to Zika-affected country. This validates the fact that Zika has been there in India already. A report from 1954 suggest that Zika could have circulated in India in the past as well. Discovery of Zika patients in India might have created a panic among people, especially the pregnant women who are said to be more prone to the virus. But instead of panicking, here are few things you need to know. 

  1. First of all, there are no evidences that Zika affects the pregnant women more than others. But Zika in pregnant women give rise to other complications as well. When a pregnant woman is infected with Zika, she’s more likely to transfer birth-related anomalies like microcephaly and other neurological defects to her new born. 
  2. If a pregnant woman is tested positive for Zika, then this doesn’t necessarily mean that her foetus is bound to be affected. According to a study, the risk of an infected mother to give birth to a child with microcephaly is 1% to 13%. 
  3. The primary sources of Zika contamination are mosquitoes and unprotected sex. 
  4. As for now, there is no vaccine or cure for Zika. 
  5. If a pregnant woman is infected with Zika, an ultrasound can detect whether her new born will have microcephaly (Abnormally small skull) or not. 
  6. Zika virus has been detected in breast milk. But currently, there is no evidence that it can be transmitted through breastfeeding. 
  7. If you’re trying to conceive, it’s better that you protect yourself from catching the Zika infection. Here are the ways in which you can protect yourself from Zika: 
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or keep the windows and doors screened with mesh. 
  • Remove the sources of stagnant water, as it can become the breeding ground of mosquitoes. 
  • The mosquitoes bearing the Zika virus are more likely to bite during the daytime. Use proper mosquito repellent during daytime as well. 
  • Wear full-sleeved and lighter-coloured clothes to prevent mosquito bites. 
  • Avoid using scents and fragrant products. 
  • Sleep under a mosquito net.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Zika, then wait for at least 8 weeks before trying to get pregnant. Men diagnosed with Zika should wait atleast 6 months before trying to have a baby. 

Also Read: How did Zika reach India? What can you do to protect yourself