12:11 GMT01 August 2021
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    New guidelines to confirm Zika infections using a new algorithm to differentiate that virus from other mosquito-borne illnesses were announced by PAHO.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — New guidelines to confirm Zika infections using a new algorithm to differentiate that virus from other mosquito-borne illnesses were announced in a press release on Friday by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and a network of diagnostic laboratories.

    "With Dengue and Chikungunya circulating in the region, diagnosing Zika is a great challenge," Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine chief Maria Guadalupe Guzman said on Friday.

    Petro Kouri, Cuba’s leading public health institution, is part of a network of 22 national diagnostic laboratories in the Americas.

    Zika is difficult to diagnose because it contains genetic material that is similar to that of Dengue and Chikungunya. All three illnesses are transmitted by infected Aedes mosquitoes.

    The new guidelines consist of an algorithm based on an established platform for surveillance of Dengue, using data from 22 national reference laboratories in the network.

    "They will serve to rule out or confirm dengue, chikungunya and Zika, and can be adjusted to the conditions of each country," the release quoted PAHO regional adviser Jose Luis San Martin as saying.

    The diagnosis of Zika virus infections is important, especially for the care and monitoring of pregnant women because of the possible link between the virus and the birth of babies with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, the release explained.

    Since Brazil first reported cases of Zika infections in 2015, the virus has spread to 31 countries and territories in the Americas.


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