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World Updates

Zika virus infection – Venezuela

On 27 November 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of Venezuela received notification of 7 suspected cases of Zika virus infection. The diagnoses were made by the national reference laboratory, the "Rafael Rangel" National Institute of Hygiene. Four samples tested positive for Zika virus by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The results were re-confirmed by Colombia’s National Institute of Health (INS). The cases, whose age ranges from 40 to 55 years old, are all women from areas that border Brazil.

Zika virus infection – El Salvador

On 24 November, the National IHR Focal Point of El Salvador notified PAHO/WHO of 3 laboratory-confirmed autochthonous cases of Zika virus infection. The preliminary confirmation was provided by the national reference laboratory and has since been confirmed by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Fort Collins. Salvadoran health authorities are implementing the corresponding prevention and control activities.

Zika virus infection – Guatemala

PAHO/WHO has received notification of a laboratory-confirmed autochthonous case of Zika virus infection in Guatemala. The case, who is a resident of the Zacapa department, developed symptoms on 11 November. An investigation is being carried out to detect further cases. The confirmatory testing was performed at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Fort Collins. Guatemalan health authorities are implementing the corresponding prevention and control activities.

Microcephaly – Brazil

The Ministry of Health (MoH) of Brazil has provided PAHO/WHO with an update regarding the unusual increase in the number of cases of microcephaly among newborns in the northeast of Brazil. As of 21 November, a total of 739 cases of microcephaly were being investigated in nine states in the northeast of Brazil. The distribution of the cases was as follows: Pernambuco (487 cases), Paraíba (96 cases), Sergipe (54 cases), Rio Grande do Norte (47 cases), Piauí (27 cases), Alagoas (10 cases), Ceará (9 cases), Bahia (8 cases) and Goiás (1 case).

Cholera – Iraq

WHO received notification from the National IHR Focal Point of Iraq of additional laboratory-confirmed cases of cholera. As of 22 November, a total of 2,810 laboratory-confirmed cases of Vibrio cholerae 01 Inaba had been confirmed at the Central Public Health Laboratory in Baghdad, and only 2 deaths related to cholera were reported.

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