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Colombia sees sharp rise in Zika cases

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  15 Feb 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Bogota, Feb 14: Colombia reported sharp increase in Zika virus cases in the country, with an announced total of 31,555 cases, including 5,013 pregnt women. This marks a sharp increase compared with the estimate by Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria on January 28, when he put the total number around 20,000, Xinhua reported. Now, Colombia is the second worst-hit country influenced by Zika after Brazil, where the government said as many as 1.5 million people may have been infected. The rise in Zika cases compounds fears about Zika in Colombia, especially concerning its links to the rise in Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) cases. GBS is a rare condition which causes the body’s immune system to aggressively attack the nervous system. While the fatality rate of GBS is normally around five percent, in serious cases it can cause paralysis in survivors. On Tuesday, Colombia reported that nearly 100 cases of GBS have been reported across the country, with all these patients also suffering from Zika. Three of these patients have died because of Zika virus infection and six more suspicious deaths were under investigation. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and scientists around the world are racing to prove a link between Zika and rises in microcephaly and GBS. If confirmed, it would provide a very unsettling new development for adult victims since the panic caused by Zika has mainly been due to babies born with microcephaly after their mothers became infected. (IANS)

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