In Brazil – a country of about 200 million people - they expect to see roughly 10 to 12 cases of Microcephalic birth defects per month – or about 150 cases a year. This neurodevelopment disorder is considered rare, and it can be caused by a variety of congenital disorders, maternal illness, or environmental exposures.
Three weeks ago, the Brazilian MOH announced a sudden jump in cases (n=399) for the year, followed a week later by a jump to 739 cases. Last week, the number stood at 1248.
Today the Brazilian Ministry of Health has announced on twitter the results of their third weekly epidemiological report on the rapidly escalating Microcephaly epidemic, and once again the number has jumped by more than 500 cases in a week (n=1761).
This huge jump in cases comes despite changing the criteria for a Microcephaly diagnosis from 33 cm head circumference to 32cm this week.
Although the evidence is still being weighed, the MOH has tentatively linked this unprecedented rise in Microcephaly to maternal infection with the recently arrived Zika virus (see ECDC Risk Assessment: Microcephaly In Brazil Potentially Linked To The Zika Virus Epidemic).
The full Week 48 Epidemiological Update (in Portuguese) may be accessed at the link below:
COES – MICROCEFALIAS
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER IN PUBLIC HEALTH ON MICROCEFALIAS
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This report from COES - Microcefalias aims to document and disseminate updated information on
epidemiological situation of microcephaly in Brazil, focusing on research and response to changing
pattern of occurrence of the disease in this country.
Current epidemiological situation
Until December 5, 2015, they were notified to the SVS / MS 1,761 suspected cases of microcephaly, identified in 422 municipalities in 14 Brazilian states. It is noteworthy that all cases reported not fit the definition set out in the Information Notice No. 01/2015, in the case of suspected cases and that still need to be investigated and classified. Among the total cases, 19 deaths were reported suspects, 17 states in the Northeast (Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe) and two in Rio de Janeiro. The distribution of cases notified to the SVS / MS to the SE 48/2015