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World Updates

Microcephaly – Brazil

On 4 January 2016, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Brazil provided PAHO/WHO with an epidemiological report regarding the increase of microcephaly cases in the country. As of 2 January, 3,174 suspected cases of microcephaly, including 38 deaths, had been identified at the national level. The cases are distributed across 684 municipalities of 21 federal units. The Northeastern region continues to report the highest number of suspected cases.

Zika virus infection – France - Overseas Departments

On 21 December 2015, WHO received notification of the first 2 laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus infection in two overseas departments of France: Remire-Montjoly, French Guiana and Schœlcher, Martinique. Since then, 2 additional cases have been reported in Saint Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana and in Fort de France, Martinique. The cases were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (viral genome detection) at the Pasteur Institute in Cayenne, French Guiana and at the university hospital laboratory in Martinique.

Zika virus infection – United States of America - Puerto Rico

On 31 December 2015, the National IHR Focal Point (NFP) of the United States of America notified PAHO/WHO of the first laboratory-confirmed case of Zika virus infection in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. The patient is a resident of Puerto Rico and had no travel history outside the island in the three months prior to the onset of illness. A blood sample obtained from the patient tested positive for Zika viral RNA by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Oman

On 3 January 2016, the National IHR Focal Point of Oman notified WHO of 1 additional case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. A 44-year-old male from the North Batinah Governorate developed symptoms on 25 December and, on 1 January, was admitted to hospital. On 3 January, the patient, who has no comorbidities, tested positive for MERS-CoV. Currently, he is in stable condition in a negative pressure isolation room on a ward. The patient has a history of exposure to dromedary camels in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms.

Human infection with avian influenza A(H5N6) virus – China

Between 30 December 2015 and 2 January 2016, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 2 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N6) virus. The Chinese Government has taken the following surveillance and control measures:


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