It has been just over seven months since the Zika virus was first reported to be circulating in Colombia, and while details have been slow to emerge, we have started seeing scattered reports of microcephalic births and other congenital defects linked to maternal infection with the virus.
Occupying a relatively small geographic region, the Colombian department of Valle De Cauca has a population of about 4.6 million people and ranks as the third most populous in the country.
Meaning that roughly 1 in 10 Colombians live there, many in the urban environments of Cali, Buenaventura and Cartago.
Their Ministry of Health has published the following statement on their (now declining) Zika epidemic, and on the number of microcephalic births (n=4), and other congenital defects, they believe are linked to the virus.
Since the demographics and incidence of Zika virus infection vary widely across Colombia, we can't easily extrapolate these numbers to the rest of the country.
But this does give us insight into Zika's impact on one, heavily urbanized and reasonably prosperous region of the country.
And as with all reports of this type, the caveat remains that while microcephaly is easily spotted at birth, some congenital abnormalities may take months or even longer before they become apparent.
Santiago de Cali, May 23, 2016 . Although cases of Zika began the descent phase in the Valle del Cauca departmental health authorities keep watch in cases of babies born with malformations associated with this disease.
"We have approximately 17,000 patients with zika. Of them, 10 percent, 1,700 are pregnant and contact those pregnant zika 550 children were born. Of these infants, 17 were born with congenital malformations, four microcephaly and others with some injuries. All are under consideration, "said Maria Cristina Lesmes, secretary Valley Health.
The official warned that the situation is complex and under study an estimated number of 64 patients with neurological and gynecological lesions associated with zika.
"The tricky thing is that it is a disease that is here to stay. We are in many studies of neurological and gynecological complications really trying to define what happens. But we have four children with microcephaly are guys who need poyo for life because their development is not normal, "said the official.
The important thing for the Health Ministry is to have timely consultation because it has been found that the number of cases of zika is lower than expected.
"With the zika have the problem of low symptoms, then compared the chikungunya, which had 122,000 cases with zika not going to reach 20,000. Then the decline is not as fast because you probably have a significant underreporting "Lesmes said
The official stressed the need for the community to support the transmitter controls mosquito breeding sites.