Brazil confirms 508 microcephaly cases

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Paula Laboissière reports from Agência Brasil

A new epidemiological bulletin released today (Feb. 17) by the Health Ministry reported that 508 microcephaly cases and/or central nervous system malformation of infants related to congenital infection have been confirmed in the country between October 22, 2015 and February 13, 2016. The confirmed cases were reported in 203 municipalities in 13 out of 27 states.

According to the report, out of 3,935 microcephaly cases being investigated, 60.1% were reported in 2015 and 39.9% reported this year.

The bulletin also reports 108 deaths of babies suspected of being caused by microcephaly and/or central nervous system malformation after birth or during pregnancy. Of this total, 27 have been confirmed, 70 are still being investigated and 11 have been dismissed.

"The ministry is investigating all microcephaly cases and other central nervous system malformations reported by the states, and its possible link with the Zika virus and other congenital infections. Microcephaly can result from several infectious agents in addition to Zika, including syphilis, toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus," reported the ministry.

Until now, indigenous circulation of Zika virus has been detected in 22 Brazilian states.

Translated by Amarílis Anchieta

Edited by: Carolina Pimentel / Nira Foster