Health and Welfare Committee of NRN USA organized a teleconference seminar to provide an awareness on Zika virus with title “Zika virus: What is it, What it does, What are its Symptoms, What preventive and control measures are there?” Scores of participants from all corners of the United States joined the teleconference and interacted. Theparticipants dialed in from diverse geographic location including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Illinois, California, New Mexico among other states. The speakers at the seminar were physician Dr. Nirdesh Sharma and Microbiologist and researcher Priya Budhathoki.
The moderator session who is also the chairperson of the Health & Welfare Committee, Dr. Sanjeeb Sapkota, introduced the speakers. He opened the session giving the current scenario of Zika Virus infections and the measures being taken to contain the disease. The President of NRN USA Dr. Keshab Paudel thanked the committee for the remarkable activities it has been organizing. He said the significance of the committee has grown over the years with the emerging new and old diseases.
The vice president of NRN USA who oversee the committee activities Ram C Pokhrel listed the events and activities that the committee has been organizing since the last three years. Dilli Bhattarai and Bandana Koirala, the other vice presidents of NRN USA, highlighted the significance of the awareness of the disease among Nepali community. Microbiologist Priya Budhathoki explained the micro-structure of Zika virus. She described different parts and layers of the virus and how they causes illness. She said Zika virus belongs to the family Flaviviridae and the genus Flavivirus. Other virus-members of this genus are West Nile virus, dengue virus, tick-borne encephalitis virus and yellow fever virus.
Dr. Nirdesh Sharma said Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, particularly the Aedes aegypti. Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, but they can also bite during evening, night and morning. This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. “Zika virus can also be transmitted via sexual contact” Said Dr. Nirdesh Sharma.
Dr. Sharma further said that many people infected with Zika virus will not have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are, fever that can go up to 102 degree Fahrenheit, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain and headache. Infection of the virus in pregnant women most likely causes the serious birth defect including microcephaly or the shrinking of the brain and head. Among adults, in some cases, neurological disease like Gullein Barr Syndrome has occurred.
Zika virus disease is usually mild and requires no special treatment. People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice. Though there is currently no vaccine available experts are working in the background to soon bring one.
“Health issues Nepali community faces has been the topic for the Monthly teleconference that Health and Welfare Committee of NRN USA has been organizing” Said Dr. Sanjeeb Sapkota. “Diabetes, mental health, heart disease, pneumonia in children, ebola virus disease, use and misuse of pain medications are among the topics of the monthly teleconference session that the committee has conducted so far” He further said. Gobinda Shrestha, the co-chair of the committee and also the executive member of NRN USA, gave a vote a thanks to the speakers and the participants. Mr. Shrestha further said that the committee will continue to bring experts to provide awareness to the Nepali community.