IMA sounds Zika alert

People asked to stay vigilant and not ignore dengue or chikungunya-like symptoms with red eyes.

With the city already battling a dengue, chikungunya and viral fever outbreak, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has issued a Zika alert in the country.

The IMA, which is the largest association of allopathic doctors, has asked physicians and the people to be aware and vigilant.

“Do not ignore dengue or chikungunya-like symptoms with red eyes,” the IMA has said.

The association also said that local mosquito transmission of Zika virus infection has been reported in Singapore. Local mosquito transmission implies that mosquitoes in the area are infected with the Zika virus and are spreading it to humans.

“Because the Zika virus is primarily spread through mosquitoes, the IMA recommends that travellers to Singapore protect themselves from mosquito bites. In fact, a pregnant woman can pass the Zika virus to her foetus and an infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects,” said Dr. S. S. Agarwal, national president of the IMA.

Precautions for travellers

“Pregnant women should not travel to Singapore. In case it is necessary to do so, talk to your doctor and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites. If you have a partner who lives in or has travelled to Singapore, either use condoms or abstain from sex (vaginal, anal, or oral) during pregnancy. For couples trying to get pregnant, it is important to talk to your doctor about your plans and the risk of Zika virus infection. Since the virus can be sexually transmitted, travellers are encouraged to use condoms or not have sex,” says Dr. K. K. Aggarwal of the IMA.

The association also noted that many people infected with the Zika virus may not feel sick. Among those who do develop symptoms, sickness is usually mild and lasts about a week. If a mosquito bites an infected human while the virus is still in that person’s blood, it can spread the virus when it bites another person.

Even if they do not feel sick, travellers returning to the United States from Singapore should take measures to prevent mosquito bites for three weeks so that they do not spread the infection.

The IMA has also asked people to be aware about the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder that can cause muscle weakness and paralysis for a few weeks to several months.

Though the syndrome is strongly associated with Zika, only a small proportion of people with the infection get GBS. Also, most people recover fully.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 10:06:50 PM |

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