The Brazilian Ministry of Health reports it is investigating 4,222 suspected cases of microcephaly across the country, according to a news release Tuesday (computer translated).

Image/Brazil Health Ministry
Image/Brazil Health Ministry

This represents 71.5% of reported cases. The new report also points to 1,046 notifications have been discarded and 641 confirmed for microcephaly and other nervous system disorders, suggestive of congenital infection. In all, 5,909 suspected cases of microcephaly were recorded until 27 Feb.

The 641 confirmed cases occurred in 250 municipalities located in 15 Brazilian states: Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Pará, Rondônia, Goiás, Mato Grosso South and Rio Grande do Sul.  1,046 cases were discarded because of normal examinations or changes in the central nervous system by an infectious causes.

It should be noted that the Ministry of Health is investigating all cases of microcephaly and other disorders of the central nervous system, informed by the states and the possible relationship with the Zika virus and other congenital infections. Microcephaly can be caused by various infectious agents beyond Zika such as syphilis, toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus and herpes.

According to the report, the 5,909 cases reported since the beginning of the investigation last October were recorded in 1,143 municipalities in 25 Brazilian states. The Northeast region has 81% of reported cases, and Pernambuco continues with the greatest number of cases that remain under investigation (1672), followed by the states of Bahia (817), Paraíba (810), Rio Grande do Norte (383), Ceará (352), Rio de Janeiro (261), Alagoas (222), Sergipe (192) and Maranhao (192).

In all, 139 deaths were reported caused by microcephaly and / or alteration of the central nervous system after birth (stillbirth) or during pregnancy (miscarriage or stillbirth). Of these, 31 were confirmed to microcephaly and / or alteration of the central nervous system. Other research continue 96 and 12 have been discarded.

Of the total confirmed cases of microcephaly, 82 were reported by specific laboratory criteria for Zika virus. However, the Ministry of Health points out that this figure does not represent adequately the total number of cases related to the virus. It is considered that there was infection Zika most of the mothers who had babies, whose final diagnosis was microcephaly.

To date, are with indigenous circulation of Zika virus 22 Brazilian states: Goiás, Minas Gerais, Federal District, Mato Grosso do Sul, Roraima, Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Mato Grosso, Tocantins, Maranhao, Piaui, Ceara, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Bahia, Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Paraná.