Panama’s Ministerio de Salud (MINSA) reported Friday (computer translated) of a newborn was diagnosed with microcephaly who died Thursday at the Children’s Hospital, just hours after being born.
On Friday, testing for Zika virus returned positive. The mother had no history and never reported symptoms of Zika virus infection.
The case is the first reported outside of Brazil to date in the Western hemisphere. The Zika virus-microcephaly link has yet to be confirmed; however, the evidence is mounting.
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the latest reports from the Ministry of Health of Brazil shows there had been reports of 6,480 suspected cases of microcephaly or other nervous system malformation among newborns across the country since 22 October 2015. Of these, 2,212 cases (34%) had been investigated, revealing 863 confirmed cases of microcephaly and/or other central nervous system (CNS) malformations with evidence suggestive of congenital infection. Out of the total reported cases, 1,349 cases were discarded as being due to non-infectious causes or not fitting the case definition, and 4,268 remain under investigation.
Since Nov. 2015, Panama has reported 134 Zika virus cases and nearly 100 in 2016. There has been two Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) cases likely linked to the Zika virus.
To date, 33 countries or territories have reported local, vector-borne transmission of Zika virus in the Region of the Americas.