The Ministry of Health announced Monday (Nov. 30) it has been studying the cases of six children who died from microcephaly believed to have been caused by the Zika virus. On Saturday (28), the ministry confirmed a link between the virus and a surge in microcephaly cases in the country. Tests on a baby born with microcephaly in Ceará have detected the presence of the virus.
According to Cláudio Maierovitch, Ministry of Health Director for Communicable Diseases, 1,248 suspected microcephaly cases have been reported in 311 municipalities, mostly in the Northeast. The state of Pernambuco has seen the largest number of cases (646), followed by Paraíba (248), Rio Grande do Norte (79), Sergipe (77), Alagoas (59), Bahia (37), Piauí (36), Ceará (25), Rio de Janeiro (13), Tocantins (12), Maranhão (12), Goiás (2), Mato Grosso do Sul (1) and the Federal District (1).
Maierovitch stressed the importance of community engagement in controlling the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is a vector for the dengue fever, the Zika virus and the chikungunya fever. “This is a public health emergency. We have to boost our vector control efforts with more active community engagement. Local governments must step up their urban sanitation efforts as well,” he said. Also according to him, the Ministry of Planning assured it will take steps to provide emergency resources to fight the mosquito.
According to Maierovitch, controlling Aedes aegypti is no magic. “I'm afraid we'll still have to deal with this issue for a while,” he said. According to him, the confirmed link between the Zika virus and microcephaly indicates that preventive efforts must be increased, and insect repellents should be used by all pregnant women.
Translated by Mayra Borges
Fonte: Brazil has 1,248 suspected cases of microcephaly