The causal link between maternal Zika virus infection has not been completely proven, but the evidence supporting the link continues to mount. One obstacle has been the lack of microcephalic births outside of Brazil, where the epidemic first took hold in the Americas.
That may soon change, now that other nations have seen Zika circulating for the past 5 or 6 months have cohorts of pregnat women coming to full term.
While all eyes have been on Colombia, which was the second large country to report the virus, yesterday Panama's MOH announced their first microcephalic birth, which they have tentatively tied to maternal Zika virus infection.
Of particular concern: the mother never reported Zika-like symptoms during her pregnancy. Traces of the virus were detected (according to BBC news) in the child's umbilical cord, who died four hours after delivery.
While we'll need to see a more precise report on this case, of course. But this appears to add to the growing weight of evidence that maternal Zika infection may cause microcephalic birth defects.
This is the first such case reported in the Americas outside of Brazil. The following brief statement comes from Panama's Ministerio de Salud (MINSA).
Friday, March 18, 2016. The Ministry of Health (MOH), regent of health in Panama entity informs the population, the health alert remains, due to the circulation of Zika virus which amounts to 134 cases in total from November 2015 to date.
For 2016 we have 96 cases in total corresponding to 55 in Guna Yala, 29 in the Metropolitan Region, 6 in West Panama, Panama 3 in North, 1 in Colón, 1 in San Miguelito and 1 in Darien, respectively. There are two known cases complicated neurological probably associated with Zika and recovered from Guillain-Barré syndrome virus.
For today positive test by Zika virus of a newborn died yesterday at the Children's Hospital with a diagnosis of encephalocele and microcephaly, which is being investigated because the mother has no history of past infection reported by nor have the virus in the mother identified risk factors. studies to rule out other possible causes, and other confirmatory tests are performed, because it is an emerging disease in the continent.
It is for this reason that urged the general public to take measures to prevent the proliferation of mosquitoes and protect their bites.