English.news.cn 2015-12-30 14:53:40
RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) — Brazil has reported 2,975 suspected cases of microcephaly in babies, which may have been caused by Zika virus infection, local authorities said Tuesday.
The country has been facing a sharp and sudden increase in cases of microcephaly, a condition in which a baby is born with a smaller-than-normal cranium and can lead to cognitive and other health problems.
Doctors in the northeastern state of Pernambuco started to make a connection between the unusual increase in microcephaly cases with Zika virus a few months ago, as several of the babies’ mothers had been infected with Zika virus in the early stages of pregnancy.
The suspected link was later confirmed by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, a governmental research institution which studies infectious diseases. Traces of Zika virus were found in the amniotic fluid of women who were pregnant with babies with microcephaly.
According to the Health Ministry, there are suspected cases of microcephaly in 656 towns in 20 out of Brazil’s 27 states.
The government is also investigating the deaths of 40 babies suspected to have been born with microcephaly caused by Zika infection.
The connection between Zika infection and microcephaly had never been made before, as the virus had never spread over such a large area as Brazil
Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and has symptoms similar to dengue fever, which is pandemic in Brazil. The disease had been considered minor, as it is not so lethal as dengue, and symptoms are not severe.
Categories: . Enhanced Disease Transmission