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    A pregnant woman holds a mosquito net in Cali

    Over 5,000 Pregnant Colombian Women Infected with Zika Virus

    © AFP 2019 / LUIS ROBAYO
    Latin America
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    The Colombian government has called on women to delay pregnancy for six to eight months because of the Zika virus outbreak.

    A mosquito-born virus spreading world-wide hit Latin American pregnant women the most, according to the Colombian National Institute of Health. 5,000 pregnant women now have the Zika virus.

    Overall, the outbreak has affected 26,542 people and 5,013 pregnant women, the country's healthcare institute data reported in an epidemiology bulletin.

    The Zika virus is transmitted through sex and by mosquitoes in the daytime. It can survive in semen for more than 60 days after infection. It does not cause serious complications in adults, but is suspected of leading to severe brain defects and microcephaly cases in newborn children.

    The first case of Zika virus was discovered in Colombia on October 16, 2015, the World Health Organization reported.

    Last week witnessed a total increase in Zika virus cases by 23 percent, and 57.8 percent more pregnant women were reported as having been infected.

    The question remains as to whether there is a link between microcephaly and the virus itself.

    Brazil is seeing an unexpected rebound of the virus. The country is investigating into the possibilities that the virus is responsible for a birth defect following 4,300 reported cases of an inflammation of the brain that affects the growth and development of the fetus.

    Scientists have not yet reported that the virus could cause microcephaly despite confirmed evidence of Zika infection in 41 out of 460 cases of microcephaly.

    Colombia is believed to have up to 6,000 cases of the virus just in 2016, according to official statements. However, no figures confirming Zika-linked microcephaly in the country has yet been announced.

    The Zika virus acts stealthly up to 80 percent of infected people show no symptoms typical, such as fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

    World researchers are still struggling to develop a vaccine or treatment as the Zika virus has run amock.


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