Suspected Zika-lined microcephaly cases rise to 5,079 in Brazil

Brasilia, Feb 13 (IANS) Possible cases of Zika-linked microcephaly in Brazil have increased by six percent in the last 10 days to 5,079, the government announced.

Among them, 462 cases were confirmed, 765 ruled out and the remaining 3,852 were still under investigation, Xinhua quoted the Ministry of Health as saying on Friday.

The rapid increase was attributed to the Zika virus, which has been spreading across the country. However, for the moment, no formal link has been established between these congenital malformations in newborns and the virus.

The six percent increase is smaller than the rate of growth seen in previous announcements of new cases. In last week’s update, the pace was 14 percent.

But it was suspected that the annual Carnival festivities, which took place last week, might have slowed down the reporting process of new cases.

Furthermore, according to the ministry, of the new 462 cases, 41 babies have been confirmed as having links to the Zika virus through the mother during pregnancy.

As for the 765 eliminated cases, they were all incidents where fetuses presented a malformation but later exams proved they were normal or the malformation had no link to Zika.

Additionally, 24 babies have died in the country due to microcephaly and accompanying damage to the nervous system. However, 59 more deaths were under investigation and may be linked to the same conditions. These numbers included newborns and stillborn fetuses.

Of all the registered cases of microcephaly, 29 percent originated in the northeastern state of Pernambuco.

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