The number of Zika virus cases are much higher than official numbers reported to date, the Pan American Health Organization(PAHO) said and was reported by Colombia outlet, Caracol Radio (computer translated).

Latn America Public domain image/ Addicted04
Latn America
Public domain image/ Addicted04

The PAHO estimates some two or three million Zika cases in Latin America, and says that the 100,000 reported so far “don’t reflect the magnitude of the situation,” because many people don’t see their doctor if they have few or no symptoms.

“This number doesn’t match the scope we think Zika has achieved; we need better diagnostics. Brazil has now estimated it has 1.3 million and Colombia half a million,” said Marcos Espinal, director of the PAHO Department of Contagious Diseases. He was speaking today in Washington, DC at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Espinal bases his estimate on 2015 data showing 2.3 million cases of dengue in the region and 600,000 of chikungunya, both carried by the same Aedes aegypti mosquito vector that carries Zika.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we have two or three million cases of Zika,” Espinal said, “because we’re seeing that the mosquito transmits it with the same efficiency as chikungunya, or more.”