Colombia reports almost 43,000 Zika cases

February 28, 2016

Colombia has registered 42,706 cases of people infected with Zika, including 7,653 in pregnant women, the country's National Health Institute reported on Saturday.

The latest count represents an increase of 5,695 new cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the last week, including 1,300 in .

Although the disease's symptoms are undetectable or mild in most people—including low fever, headaches and joint pain—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.

Clinical exams were used to identify 34,464 cases in Colombia, the health ministry said. Laboratory tests confirmed infections in another 1,612, and 6,630 were listed as suspected Zika infections.

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

The health authorities predict more than 600,000 people will be infected with the Zika virus in Colombia 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.

The World Health Organization (WHO)—which has declared the rise in Zika-linked birth defects an international emergency—warns the virus will probably spread throughout the Americas except Canada and Chile.

Explore further: Colombia reports 37,000 Zika cases, over 6,300 in pregnant women

Related Stories

Six pregnant Mexican women infected with Zika

February 16, 2016

Six pregnant women have been infected with Zika in Mexico, the health ministry said Tuesday, amid global fears that the mosquito-borne virus causes a severe birth defect.

Colombia fears 'explosion' of nerve disease from Zika

February 1, 2016

Colombia fears an explosion in cases of the potentially paralyzing nervous disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome, linked to the mosquito-borne Zika virus that is devastating Latin America, the government said Monday.

Recommended for you

Zika virus infection alters human and viral RNA

October 20, 2016

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that Zika virus infection leads to modifications of both viral and human genetic material. These modifications—chemical tags known as ...

Food-poisoning bacteria may be behind Crohn's disease

October 19, 2016

People who retain a particular bacterium in their gut after a bout of food poisoning may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease later in life, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University.

Neurodevelopmental model of Zika may provide rapid answers

October 19, 2016

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly—a ...

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

October 17, 2016

In a study that could one day help eliminate the tragic birth defects caused by Zika virus, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have elucidated how the virus attacks the brains of newborns, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.