The mosquito-borne Zika virus continues to spread in Brazil, alarming health officials and raising fresh fears that more newborns will be afflicted with abnormal brain development from the disease.
Meanwhile, cases of another mosquito-transmitted illness, dengue fever, have reached a historical high here in South America’s largest country, with nearly 1.6 million people infected in the past year.
Zika is suspected to lead to a condition known as microcephaly, a condition in which infants are born with undersized brains and skulls. Figures released on Tuesday by Brazil’s Health Ministry showed that in the week ending Jan. 2, there were 199 fresh cases of suspected Zika-related microcephaly, versus 193 new suspected cases in the week ended 26.
The latest figure brings to 3,174 the total number of suspected Zika-related microcephaly cases, which have been found in 684 municipalities across 21 of Brazil’s 27 states. There have been 38 infant deaths believed to have been caused by Zika-related microcephaly. That figure revises a previous estimate of 40 virus-related fatalities.
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