21/12/2015

16:59

Por: Alberto Silva

“Urgent” Brazil Registers More than 2000 Suspected Microcephaly Cases in Over 500 Cities

In just over three months, Brazil has registered 2165 suspected cases of microcephaly in babies, with 134 having been confirmed. Microcephaly is a neurological disorder causing incomplete brain development.

The cases have been registered over 549 municipalities in 19 Brazilian states and the Federal District (Brasília).

The Ministry of Health considers the cases to be related to the zika virus, which is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The virus was identified in Brazil this year, and symptoms of infection were described by the mothers during pregnancy.

In total, there were 2401 reports of suspected microcephaly by December 12, with more than 90% being found in the northeast region. Pernambuco tops the list, with 874 suspected cases and 29 confirmed.

There have also been 26 suspected deaths as a result of microcephaly, with one confirmed. This was the case of a baby in Ceará, who died just minutes after birth. Tests indicated signs of zika infection.

While the number of suspected microcephaly cases continues to grow, the pace of this growth appears to be slowing.

The Ministry of Health is in negotiations with the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) and pharmaceutical companies regarding the distribution of insect repellents on the Brazilian National Health Service (SUS), in order to prevent contact between expectant mothers and the zika vector.

Nonetheless, the director says that such products would be only a “stopgap measure.”

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