More babies born with birth defects in Brazil due to Zika virus
Jan 21, Brasilia: New figures from Brazil show a further rise in the number of babies born with abnormally small heads to mothers infected with the Zika virus, according to media reports.
There have been 3,893 suspected cases of microcephaly since October, when the authorities first noticed a surge, up from 3,500 in last week's report.
Zika is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue and chikungunya. Brazil is experiencing the largest known outbreak of Zika, news reports said.
According to the health ministry, the virus has already killed five babies in the country. Another 44 deaths are being investigated.
Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Castro recently said that a new testing kit was being developed to identify quickly the presence of either of the
three viruses. He also announced extra funds to speed up the development of a vaccine for Zika.
At the moment the only way to fight Zika is to clear standing water where mosquitoes breed.
There has been a sharp rise in the number of cases of Zika in several other Latin American countries.
In Colombia, more than 13,500 cases have been reported.
He has advised women in the country not to get pregnant for the rest of the outbreak which, he said, could last until July.
In Bolivia, the authorities have reported the first case of a pregnant woman diagnosed with Zika.
The Oslo Timess