Update: 88 Microcephaly cases confirmed related to Zika in Brazil

The Ministry of Health confirmed a total 745 cases of microcephaly and

Published in 10/03/2016 - 10:24 By Aline Leal reports from Agência Brasil - Brasília

Brasília - O diretor do Departamento de Vigilância de Doenças Transmissíveis do Ministério da Saúde, Cláudio Maierovitch, explica mudanças no protocolo para diagnósticos e notificações de casos de microcefali

 Cláudio Maierovitch, Ministry of Health's Director for Communicable Disease Control Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

An update released by the Ministry of Health Wednesday (Mar. 9) reports 745 cases of microcephaly and other nervous system disorders suggestive of congenital infection in 18 Brazilian states. So far, 88 cases have been confirmed to be related to Zika virus, but according to the ministry, this number does not accurately reflect the total of Zika-related cases. The update covers the period from October 2015 through March 5.

“In a very small number of these confirmed cases the condition is likely to have been caused by other factors,” said the Ministry of Health's Director for Communicable Disease Control, Cláudio Maierovitch. But according to him, considering the surge in baby malformation caused by Zika virus, the microcephaly statistics for other factors—including syphilis, rubella, and cytomegalovirus—are insignificant.

A further 4,231 cases of suspected malformation are being investigated by the ministry. Since October last year, a total 6,158 potential microcephaly cases have been reported in Brazil, out of which 1,182 were ruled out. Investigations began in November, but there are reports of babies born with the malformation before that.

By March 5, 157 children were reported to have died with evidence of microcephaly and/or other central nervous system disorders after birth or during pregnancy. Out of these deaths, 37 were confirmed for microcephaly and/or central nervous system disorders, 102 are still pending investigation, and 28 were ruled out.

The latest update covers cases reported based on a new Ministry of Health guideline that introduces new maximum head circumference standards for potential microcephaly (31.9cm for boys and 31.5cm for girls). The standards were revised following recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Translated by Mayra Borges

Fonte: Update: 88 Microcephaly cases confirmed related to Zika in Brazil

Edition: Fábio Massalli / Augusto Queiroz

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