Zika: Panama reports 4 microcephaly cases, 5th country to report according to PAHO
The Panamanian Health Ministry reported Wednesday four babies born with the birth defect, microcephaly, which are linked to Zika virus infection.
According to a Reuters report, Panama has reported 264 total Zika cases, which include 14 cases in pregnant women. Six babies who were infected with Zika were born with malformations, including the microcephaly cases, the health ministry said.
Panama’s Health Minister Francisco Terrientes said the country is “staying alert to the rapid expansion of the Zika virus,” and called on the population to take preventative measures.
Microcephaly is a medical condition in which the circumference of the head is smaller than normal because the brain has not developed properly or has stopped growing. Microcephaly can be present at birth or it may develop in the first few years of life.
One month ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.
During a press briefing at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) headquarters in Washington DC Tuesday, Zika Incident Manager for the PAHO, Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri said five countries in Americas reported babies born w/microcephaly–Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Martinique and the United States.