Panama Reports Cases of Microcephaly tied to Zika Virus
The Zika virus continues its wrecking trail as Panama confirms four cases of microcephaly that are linked to the mosquito-borne virus.
Panama’s health ministry today confirmed that out of 264 total cases of the mosquito-borne infection in the country, four babies are diagnosed with the birth defect of microcephaly, a rare medical condition in which the brain does not develop properly resulting in a smaller than normal head. This is known to be one of the complications of the virus.
The health ministry reports that 14 pregnant women were infected by the virus. Six babies were infected with Zika virus and diagnosed with malformations, including the microcephaly cases.
The reports obviously drew concern and fear as a surge of the virus may occur. The Zika virus is spreading rapidly in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Brazil is reported to have the largest number of cases with 1,300 Zika-related microcephaly. Alarmed by the outbreak, Brazil allotted more than $300 million to battle the mosquito and mobilized mosquito-busting initiatives throughout the country.
Zika Virus Spreading Rapidly Around the World
The disease is believed to have infected 1.5 million people since its initial outbreak in Brazil and unprecedented spread around the world. The disease also put pregnant women at risk of complications when they contract the virus. A recent discovery has confirmed a link between the Zika virus and a neurological disorder affecting newborns.
Already, Zika, the life-threatening mosquito-borne virus, has spread to more than 30 countries and continues its rapid spread across the Americas and in the Caribbean. The virus has been linked to the birth defect “microcephaly,” a condition marked by abnormally small fetal head size that is linked to developmental problems, and to the neurological disease Guillain-Barre syndrome.
The outbreak is so alarming that it prompted Colombian authorities to encourage women to delay pregnancy for six to eight months.