Cape Verde: 11 newborns have Zika-related birth defects

Cape Verde has recorded 11 cases of microcephaly associated with Zika virus, and one of the babies diagnosed with the disease was stillborn, according to the Ministry of Health.

“The women became pregnant during the second half of 2015. They began to give birth and now we count 11 cases of babies with microcephaly in a cumulative total,” an epidemiologist from the Ministry of Health, Maria de Lourdes Monteiro, said.

Nine of these cases were reported in Praia and two on the island of Maio.

The official said the virus is under control in the archipelago and a laboratory to screen all pregnant women living in the islands affected by the virus was introduced in March in Praia with the help of the Pasteur Institute in Dakar.

The archipelago nation off the northwest coast of Africa had been observing 100 pregnant women who are infected with the mosquito borne Zika virus.

The country has over 7,500 cases of Zika in the latest epidemic that has seen Brazil investigate over 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly.

Much remains unknown about the virus and whether it is the main factor behind microcephaly.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently declared the virus a global emergency and anticipates it will affect as many as 4 million people.

The Zika virus causes microcephaly, a condition in which babies conceived by infected moms are born with abnormally small heads.

Since no Zika vaccine has been approved, some infectious disease specialists think that delaying or avoiding pregnancies is the only safe way to avoid giving birth to babies with brain damage.

About Khalid Al Mouahidi 4343 Articles
Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network