The Brazilian Ministry of Health has released the latest data concerning reported cases of microcephaly in that nation and its possible links to Zika viral illnesses. The report is titled “Microcefalia: 1.749 casos confirmados no Brasil“, and represents about 37 weeks of reports, through July 23, 2016. The country has averaged 120 new reports of the birth defect over the last nine weeks.
As of July 23, the situation is Brazil is as follows:
- Total reports: 8,703
- Total investigated reports: 5,641, 64.8% of all reports
- Total reports discarded as not microcephaly or microcephaly not caused by an infection: 3,892, 69% of all investigated reports
- Total reports confirmed as microcephaly due to an infection: 1,749, 31% of all investigated reports
- Reports not yet investigated: 3,062
It is likely that all of the reports will never be investigated. People move, die or may not have provided accurate addresses. The ability to track down every patient associated with a report is also limited by the resources available to the Ministry of Health and the willingness of the local population to cooperate with follow up from the national government.
Of the 1,749 cases of microcephaly believed caused by an infection, 272 have been confirmed by laboratory tests as Zika related. The Ministry believes that all of these are related but their weekly report continues to note that a variety of infections can result in microcephaly in a newborn.