The Zika virus has not completely disappeared but in Colombia, the health ministry has announced that the Zika epidemic is over. Colombia had the second most Zika cases, with almost 100,000 in less than a year. The Zika virus outbreak began last year in Brazil and quickly spread to nearby countries.
Colombia’s Zika outbreak began ten months ago and more than 99,000 cases have been reported since. According to Colombia’s Ministry of Health, almost 9,000 cases were confirmed by lab tests. The country has reported 21 microcephaly births since the outbreak began but thousands of pregnant women who had the virus are being monitored. Experts say microcephaly births could increase in the next few months.
Brazil has recorded the most cases, with 91,000 new cases since the start of the year, according to health officials. The Zika virus outbreak began in Brazil last year and the number of cases of microcephaly in the country associated with the Zika has risen to almost 1,800. The country will host the Olympics in just a few days and officials have recently said that Zika risk during the event is almost zero. But a few athletes will be skipping the event because of the Zika virus. Experts also asked to the event to be moved or delayed. The request was denied and later discussed. But it was decided that the event would go on as planned.
In Colombia, cases dropped by hundreds but it remains a threat for pregnant women. This doesn’t mean that the Zika virus can’t appear again, especially if cases are still being reported around the world. Experts are now trying to compare the microcephaly patterns in the two countries. But it won’t be easy as the virus first appeared in Brazil and this could have led women in nearby countries to take precautions.
In the first few months of the Zika virus, experts linked it to birth defects such as microcephaly. Now, they are looking at the high percentage of cases being reported in the northeastern part of Brazil. Most of the microcephaly cases have been reported from that area.
Yesterday, a hospital in Spain said it had registered Europe’s first microcephaly birth. In Florida, the Heath Department said it was investigating four possible cases of local transmission of Zika. A total of 381 travel-related Zika virus cases have been confirmed in the state.