According to the WHO, the first case of birth defects which link to Zika virus in Panama has recently reported.
The director general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Magaret Chan announced that a baby with microcephaly condition was given birth at 30 weeks’ gestation in Panama, and passed away a few hours later. Evidence of Zika virus has been found in the umbilical cord.
Scientists and people all over the world are waiting to see whether more infants of Zika-infected pregnant women get microcephaly. Dr. Chan said that the more information they got, the worse situation it became.
Zika virus has been spread to 38 countries and territories, Dr. Chan reveals. Whether it would spread to other parts of the world or not is still an unanswered question.
Along with Brazil, Panama is the only country to have reported microcephaly cases which is associated with Zika virus. Besides, investigation has been conducted in Colombia with the same situation. Scientists strongly believe that birth defect cases will be found in Colombia.
According to Dr. Chan, a robust mechanism has been set up in Colombia with an aim to determine whether there is a connection between any cases confirmed and Zika infection.
Moreover, in Cape Verde, a small island off the coast of Senegal, a case of suspected microcephaly was confirmed last week. The WHO, therefore, has deployed investigators to help analyze the situation. In that team, there are lab experts, epidemiologists, maternal health specialists and communication staff.
Statistics from the WHO shows that from October. 21 to March 6, there has been nearly 7,500 suspected cases of Zika virus reported in Cape Verde and 165 of them are pregnant women. 44 of the pregnant ones have given birth without any abnormalities in their infants.
The number of cases in Brazil is still not clear.
According to Dr. Anthony Costello, the director of the maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health department of WHO, about 39% of the suspected cases of microcephaly which has been carefully investigated has been confirmed.
Dr. Costello, by using that ratio and the current number of about 6,500 cases, estimates that there will be around 2,500 cases confirmed.
Moreover, Dr. Chan states that raising fund to address the outbreak of Zika is very difficult. The WHO has only received approximately $3 million, while they need at least $25 million. The Health Officials are discussing to give $4 million more.
Due to the lack of funding, the situation is still very serious, she said.