The Ministry of Health reported Tuesday (Apr. 5) that 1,046 babies were born with microcephaly and other nervous system disorders suggestive of congenital infection since the ministry began investigating the link between Zika virus and microcephaly in October 2015. In one week, 102 new cases have been confirmed.
Out of the total confirmed microcephaly cases, 170 had positive laboratory results for Zika. However, due to diagnostic difficulties, the ministry believes that this number does not accurately reflect the reality—it reckons that a majority of the cases have been caused by the virus. Also according to the report, another 4,046 cases reported for suspected microcephaly are under investigation and 1,814 have been ruled out.
The Health Ministry has also released the preliminary findings of a study in Paraiba state that indicate that the risk of microcephaly is higher in babies of pregnant women infected with Zika within the first three months of pregnancy. Since Zika virus was first associated to microcephaly, infectologists and neurologists have strongly believed that there is a connection, but the study still needs to be completed for further scientific validation.
A collaboration of the Ministry of Health, the state government of Paraiba, and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the study heard 165 mothers of babies with microcephaly and 446 mothers of non-microcephalic babies within one geographic area. The babies were all up to seven months old.
According to preliminary results, no links have been found between microcephaly and exposure to certain substances, such as insecticides. The researchers are still examining blood samples from the mothers and their babies. Only after that can the final results be announced.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Agência Brasil.