After the alarm bells started going off last October in Brazil over unusual rates of microcephalic births, the government ordered intensified surveillance and reporting of `suspect cases', and initially used a rather broad criteria in order to capture as many cases as possible.
In doing so, they fully expected some percentage of these suspect cases to be eliminated after investigation.
And pretty consistently, over the last few months - upon further examination - roughly 60% of the `suspect cases' have not met the criteria for microcephaly. But should this rate remain constant (which, admittedly remains to be seen), of the 6,671 suspect cases to date, more than 2,500 will likely be diagnosed microcephalic.
This tally is for roughly half a year, and the suspect list continues to grow with every passing week.
That isn't to say some of these `discarded' cases won't end up being diagnosed with other serious neurological problems. There are concerns that microcephaly may only be the most obvious congenital birth defect, and it may take months, or even years, before the full impact is known.
Over the past reporting week 273 `suspect cases' were added to the investigation, 128 older cases were discarded as not meeting the criteria for microcephaly, and 53 cases were confirmed.
As of today, another 4,293 cases remain under investigation, an increase of 92 over the past week. Below you'll find the (translated) weekly report card.
Registration Date: 03/22/2016 18:03:22 the amended 03/22/2016 19:03:23 theREPORT CARD
It has been confirmed 907 cases of microcephaly and other nervous system disorders, suggestive of congenital infection. Other 1,471 cases were disposed
The Ministry of Health is investigating 4,293 suspected cases of microcephaly and other nervous system disorders, suggestive of congenital infection. Cases already analyzed, 907 were confirmed and 1,471 discarded.
Since the beginning of the investigation have been reported 6,671 suspected cases of microcephaly. Data from epidemiological report from the Ministry of Health are sent weekly by the state departments of Health and were closed on Saturday, March 19th.
The 907 confirmed cases occurred in 348 municipalities located in 19 Brazilian states: Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará , Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Pará, Rondônia, Distrito Federal, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Rio Grande do Sul.
1,471 discarded cases were classified because they have normal exams, or submit microcefalias and / or changes in the central nervous system by an infectious causes. the 6,671 cases reported since the beginning of the investigation, are distributed in 1,266 municipalities, from all regions of the country.
Most were registered in the Northeast (5,270 cases, which corresponds to 79%), the State of Pernambuco the Federation Unit with the largest number of cases are still being investigated (1,210). Next are Bahia (670), Paraíba (417), Rio de Janeiro (308), Rio Grande do Norte (290) and Ceará (249). It should be noted that the Ministry of Health is investigating all cases of microcephaly and other changes in the central nervous system, informed by the states, and the possible relationship with the Zika virus and other congenital infections.
Microcephaly can be caused by various infectious agents beyond Zika as Syphilis, Toxoplasmosis, Other Infectious Agents, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus and Herpes Viral.
Until March 19, there were 198 suspected deaths of microcephaly and / or alteration of the nervous system central after childbirth or during pregnancy (miscarriage or stillbirth). Of these, 46 were confirmed to microcephaly and / or alteration of the central nervous system. Another 130 are still under investigation and 22 were dropped. Of the total confirmed cases of microcephaly, 122 tested positive for Zika. In these cases, specific laboratory test was used to Zika virus.
However, the Ministry of Health points out that this figure does not represent adequately the total number of cases related to the virus. . That is, the folder considers that there was infection Zika most of the mothers who had babies with a final diagnosis of microcephaly.
To date, signaled to the Ministry of Health of the virus indigenous movement Zika 23 Brazilian states: Goiás, Minas Gerais, Federal district, Mato Grosso do Sul, Roraima, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Mato Grosso, Tocantins, Maranhao, Piaui, Ceara, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Bahia, Sergipe, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Paraná.