Health Minister Marcelo Castro called Tuesday (Dec. 1) the increase in microcephaly cases in Brazil the "greatest calamity" that the country has experienced in recent times. "This situation is a drama of extraordinary dimensions. The government and civil society have to give an appropriate response," said the minister.
The statement was issued to reporters after the opening of the 15th National Conference for Health, which assembles until Friday (Dec. 4) representatives of all states to develop guidelines for the National Health Plan.
In Brazil, 1,248 suspected cases of microcephaly, allegedly connected with the Zika virus, have been already reported in 311 municipalities from 14 Brazilian states. Among the cases, seven deaths have been reported. On Monday, the minister visited Pernambuco state, which has recorded the largest number of cases, to discuss the state's plan to combat diseases transmitted by Aedes aegypti, mosquito that causes dengue fever, chikungunya fever and Zika virus. When pregnant women are infected by the Zika virus, it can transmit microcephaly to the fetus.
Cláudio Maierovitch, director of the Department for Communicable Diseases Surveillance from the Ministry of Health, pointed out the importance to have civil society participating in the fight against Aedes aegypti. "We are in a situation of public health emergency. We will have to step up the fight against the mosquito, we need to issue a call to arms," he said.
Translated by Amarílis Anchieta
Fonte: Health Minister calls microcephaly a "calamity"