Saturday, April 20, 2024

Hundreds of pregnant women have Zika in Colombia


Share post:

BOGOTA – More than 2 100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, the country’s national health institute said on Saturday, as the disease continues its spread across the Americas.

The virus has been linked to the devastating birth defect microcephaly, which prevents foetus’ brains from developing properly. There is no vaccine or treatment.

There are 20 297 confirmed cases of the disease in Colombia, the national health institute said in an epidemiology bulletin, among them 2 116 pregnant women.

There are so far no reported cases of microcephaly or deaths from the virus in Colombia.

The institute said 37.2 per cent of pregnant women with Zika live in Norte de Santander province, along the eastern border with Venezuela.

Earlier figures from the health ministry showed 560 pregnant women had the disease, out of more than 13 500 infections.

Zika cases have been confirmed in 23 countries and territories in the Americas and scientists are racing to develop a vaccine for the virus.

Nearly half of Colombia’s Zika cases have been reported in the country’s Caribbean region, the bulletin said. More than 60 per cent of those infected are women.

The health ministry has said Zika infection falls within the health requirements women must meet to get abortions in the country, which restricts the procedure unless patients are victims of rape, have significant medical problems or the foetus is fatally deformed.

Many women, especially those living far from large cities, struggle to find abortion providers even when they meet the legal requirements and illegal abortions are widespread.

The government has urged women to delay pregnancy for six to eight months to avoid potential infection. Officials expect up to 700 000 cases.

Brazil is the country hit hardest by the disease. It has reported around 3 700 cases of microcephaly strongly suspected to be related to Zika.

The World Health Organisation has said as many as 4 million people in the Americas may become infected. (Reuters)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles

Flash Flood Warning in effect for northwestern districts

The Barbados Meteorological Services (BMS) has issued a Flash Flood Warning for the northern districts of Barbados, effective...

Dust haze advisory remains in effect for Barbados

The Barbados Meteorological Services (BMS) urges residents to be aware of an ongoing significant dust haze advisory. A...

Public cautioned against fake social media posts about President

Members of the public are being cautioned against participating in any schemes claiming to be in the name...

Netflix profits soar after password sharing crackdown

Netflix says its profits have soared in the first three months of this year, partly thanks to a...