The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is recommending that its member countries monitor and report any increases in neurological syndromes and congenital anomalies, which growing evidence suggests may be linked to Zika infections.
According to PAHO’s latest epidemiological update, the countries and territories that have to date confirmed local Zika virus transmission are: Brazil, Barbados, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, and Venezuela.
This is twice the number of countries and territories that were reported as having locally transmitted cases of Zika in the previous epidemiological update on December 1, 2015.
PAHO has also recommended countries in the Americas to prepare their healthcare facilities to respond to a potential increase in demand for specialized care for neurological syndromes, to strengthen prenatal care, and to continue their efforts to reduce the presence of mosquito vectors through effective vector-control strategies and communication to the public.
The recommendations come against the background of increase in microcephaly cases in Brazil.
Microcephaly is a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads, causing severe developmental issues and sometimes death. (Excerpts taken from Caribbean 360)