Can Zika Virus Kill You? 4 Rare Conditions it Can Cause in Infected People

Zika Virus Symptoms: Is the Zika Virus fatal? After the first case of the infection gets reported in India, here's what you need to know to prevent yourself from catching the infection.

Updated: December 13, 2022 2:57 PM IST

By Lifestyle Staff | Edited by Vineeta Kumar

Can Zika Virus Kill You 4 Rare Conditions it Can Cause in Infected People
Can Zika Virus Kill You 4 Rare Conditions it Can Cause in Infected People

Can Zika Virus Kill You? India is now struggling with the Zika Virus outbreak with many parts of Kerala, Karnataka, and Maharashtra reporting an increase in the number of cases. In the absence of any vaccine to combat the virus, prevention is the best cure. However, as the number of infected people rises, there are a lot of questions still left unanswered. Here’s your guide to knowing how fatal can the Zika virus be and how to prevent yourself from the infection.

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It is important to understand that the Zika Virus is not anything like a coronavirus or any other infection. It is traceable and the patient is infected via a mosquito carrying this virus. It is spread after a mosquito called Aedes Aegypti Mosquito, carrying the infection, bites you. While a mosquito bite is the main reason behind the infection, the virus has also spread via sexual transmission, blood transfusion, and laboratory exposure in many cases.

There are usually no distinct symptoms seen in the infected person. However, mild symptoms like fever, body rash, headache, joint pain, and in some cases, conjunctivitis can appear within a few days of the bite.

Can Zika Virus Cause Death?

As per a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths are not common in the cases of the Zika virus. However, the virus can lead to many severe infections that can eventually take a person’s life. The deaths reported due to the Zika virus are low but it has the potential to kill people in four ways.

  1. By causing ‘immune thrombocytopenic purpura’
    In Puerto Rico, a patient infected with the Zika virus died because he developed a rare condition called immune thrombocytopenic purpura in which the immune system cells that are attacking the virus start attacking the body’s own blood platelets. As a result, the platelets are destroyed, leading to internal bleeding or the development of other severe health conditions and eventually, to death.
  2. By causing ‘Guillain-Baree Syndrome’
    This is another type of auto-immune condition in which the immune system gets compromised and starts to attack the nerves, sometimes leading to paralysis. A patient suffering from this syndrome can die.
  3. By causing deadly birth defects
    The Zika virus can damage a baby’s brain if a pregnant woman is infected. This leads to the death of the baby inside a mother’s womb and sometimes, even at the time of birth. In many cases, the babies also die of unidentified causes during birth if the mother is infected with the Zika virus.
  4. By causing ‘Disseminated Encephalomyelitis’
    The Zika virus can lead to an acute condition called ‘disseminated encephalomyelitis’ which is essentially the inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. This damages the layer that covers the nerve cells and can cause death.

While research is being done to come out with a Zika virus vaccine, there is no better cure than prevention in the first place. Stay away from places that have the possibility to turn into mosquito breeding grounds. Keep your surroundings clean and make sure to not have sexual contact with the infected person. Stay healthy!

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Published Date: December 13, 2022 2:39 PM IST

Updated Date: December 13, 2022 2:57 PM IST