Colombia’s National Health Institute, or INS, is making a study to determine whether 41 cases of newborns with microcephaly – unusually small heads – are related to contagion by the Zika virus, which up to now as infected a total of 58,838 people.
According to the latest INS bulletin, as of the 11th week of this year a total of 50 microcephalic babies have been born, only nine of whom tested negative for Zika.
The institute, which warned that the number of cases could vary “due to the late notification” of the phenomenon, noted that according to the historic monthly average of microcephaly in the country, “a total of 30 cases was to be expected by the same date.”
With respect to the Guillain Barre neurological syndrome, polyneuropathies and other complications associated with Zika, the epidemiological vigilance system has been notified about 381 cases “with a history of feverish illness compatible with infection” by the virus.
According to estimates of the Colombian government, some 500 microcephalic babies could be born in the country due to Zika, while a similar number of people could suffer from Guillain Barre syndrome, which prompted its suggestion that couples resolve “not to start a pregnancy” while the virus continues to spread.
With regard to the total number of people infected, the INS updated the number to 58,838 people, of whom 10,812 are pregnant women.
The Zika virus, transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same that spreads dengue fever and Chikungunya, can cause fever, red eyes without secretion or itching, skin rashes with red and white spots, and, with less frequency, muscle and joint pain.