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A woman in the province of Guanacaste gave birth to a baby girl infected with Zika, bringing the total number of babies born with a congenital syndrome associated with the virus to six, the Health Ministry confirmed Thursday.
The ministry’s report states that in the first 22 weeks of this year there were 175 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the country. Of these, 27 are women who contracted the disease during their pregnancy.
Most of the infected people are residents of the Caribbean cantons of Siquirres and Matina, and from the Alajuela canton of Orotina.
The most serious complication of the congenital syndrome is microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Zika can also cause blindness, deafness, difficulties in motor development and learning, all of which usually begin to manifest during a child’s growth and development.
Hospitals from the Social Security System, or Caja, are increasing efforts to monitor all babies born in areas with high circulation of the virus. Doctors seek to detect early visual and auditory problems linked to brain damage, caused by the mosquito-borne virus.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main carrier of the disease. It also can transport dengue and chikungunya virus.
The Health Ministry’s report also noted that there are 1,702 confirmed cases of dengue fever and 163 of chikungunya recorded in the same period. Ministry staff are currently conducting fumigation campaigns and eliminating mosquito breeding sites.
Aedes Aegypti breeds in stagnant water. Therefore, the country’s rainy season (May-November) usually sees the highest incidence of these viruses. So far this year, government crews have eliminated 539,622 mosquito breeding sites in 326,000 homes across the country, the Health Ministry reported.