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Colombia registers about 43k cases of infection with Zika

27 February 2016 22:48


Colombia has registered about 43,000 cases of infection with the Zika virus, the National Health Institute said Saturday.

Of 42,706 cases of people infected with Zika, 7,653 are pregnant women.

The latest count shows that 5,695 new cases of the mosquito-borne virus were reported over the past week.

Zika’s rapid spread has raised alarms in Latin America because it has been tentatively linked to a serious birth defect known as microcephaly in babies born to women who became infected while pregnant.

Microcephaly is an irreversible condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and brains and suffer damage to their cognitive and motor development.

There is currently no cure or vaccine for Zika.

Colombia has reported the largest number of cases in Latin America after Brazil, where the outbreak was first detected last year. Brazil has reported 1.5 million Zika cases.

Colombian health authorities predict more than 600,000 people will be infected with the Zika virus this year, and expect more than 500 cases of microcephaly if trends seen in Brazil are repeated.

The Colombian Health Ministry has also reported three deaths from Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder that is also suspected of being linked to the virus.

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