Zika in India: What pregnant women need to know about the virus?
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.
- 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.
- 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%.
- The primary sources of Zika contamination are mosquitoes and unprotected sex.
- As for now, there is no vaccine or cure for Zika.
- If a pregnant woman is infected with Zika, an ultrasound can detect whether her new born will have microcephaly (Abnormally small skull) or not.
- Zika virus has been detected in breast milk. But currently, there is no evidence that it can be transmitted through breastfeeding.
- 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