Brazilian health officials announced Thursday that the notification of suspected cases of Zika will be mandatory for all states, according to a Ministry of Health release (computer translated).

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

The change means that all Zika of suspected cases must be reported by doctors, health professionals or persons responsible for health facilities, or public private, health authorities weekly. In cases of pregnant women with suspected infection or suspicious death, the notification will be immediate, ie, must be made within 24 hours. 

According to the Minister of Health, Marcelo Castro, Zika existed not in Brazil, as there was no rule in the world of the disease. “The notification of Zika virus is mandatory in Brazil because we now have tests that allow us to safely give the diagnosis of the virus. That is, today, if there is any doubt on the part of the doctor, he may require the test to see if the patient is in fact with Zika, “said the Health Minister for Bilateral Meeting Brazil-US, Strengthening Cooperation in Response the epidemic virus Zika, which takes place on Thursday (18) in Brasilia. 

The change in the notification is the result of a careful analysis of the monitoring methods of the Zika virus in Brazil. Until then, the disease was monitored via the sentinel surveillance system to provide support for measures to prevent the disease. Note that the Zika is a new disease in Brazil, it has been identified for the first time in May 2015 and, like any other new disease identified, need studies and periodic reviews. 

The measure was taken in partnership with states and municipalities, as well as experts from research institutions and Brazilian study. Health professionals from all over Brazil are already being told of the new measure through the various routine communication channels such as videoconferencing, e-mails, letters and direct contacts. 

In the meeting bilateral Brazil-US, Strengthening Cooperation in Response to Epidemic Virus Zika, Minister Marcelo Castro and the US Ambassador in Brazil, Liliana Ayalde intensify cooperation between the countries for the development of research for diagnosis , control, vaccine and treatment against the Zika virus.

“The US and Brazil play a key role in the search for a response to tackle the outbreak of Zika virus. Infectious diseases do not respect borders. Our joint efforts and strategic actions can produce results that will benefit everyone, “said Ambassador Liliana Ayalde.

The health minister said the actions that are already underway between the two countries, as “the partnership with the University of Texas for the development of the vaccine with the Zika virus. Also in Brazil, in the state of Paraiba, 15 researchers from the CDC together with our experts from the Ministry of Health to do just this correlation between the Zika virus and microcephaly, “the minister Marcelo Castro.

The Bilateral Meeting Brazil-US, Strengthening Cooperation in Response to Epidemic Virus Zika, held in Brasilia between 18 and 19 at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The idea is that at the end of the meeting, the authorities of both countries to draw up an overall work plan with schedule of activities defined in relation to response actions to the Zika virus epidemic and association with microcephaly.

The Ministry of Health will distribute 500,000 tests to diagnose PCR (molecular biology) to the Zika virus. The first 250,000 units will be delivered in February, initially for 27 laboratories, four reference and 23 Central Laboratories of Public Health (LACEN). It is expected that the other 250,000 tests are available from the second half.

The distribution, public laboratories will expand 20 times the capacity of the exams, from thousand to 20 thousand monthly diagnostics. The Ministry of Health will invest in the purchase of products R $ 6 million.

The PCR test performed to diagnose Zika virus will be available to all pregnant women with suspected disease, suspicious deaths and hospitalized patients with neurological manifestations in Sentinel Units, suspected of prior viral infection (zika, dengue and chikungunya). The testing will be performed on a sample of blood serum and in cases of stillbirths by viscera.
The sample collection will be held on the first service held in PSUs, UBS and SUS Network Hospitals. After collection, these drives forward the material to analyze the LACEN, State Reference Laboratories or for LRN, National Reference Laboratory. The LRN are responsible for conducting the test in the cases of stillborn and / or when the state has no LACEN able to perform real time PCR.

The Ministry of Health has sent until the 16th of February, 200 000 reactions to the test for diagnosis of Zika virus in SUS. Of the 27 laboratories, 21 have received the first reactions. The rest are still in the training process to perform the procedure. The laboratories have trained received eight thousand reactions.

The Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Government of Paraiba and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Diseases (CDC) of the United States, began this week a case study control microcephaly related to Zika virus in Brazil. The research will include the participation of 17 experts from the CDC, nine Ministry of Health, and the Paraíba government officials. The objective of the research is to estimate the proportion of babies born with microcephaly associated with Zika, besides the risk of virus infection.

The announcement was made by the minister, Marcelo Castro, during a meeting on Tuesday (16) with 24 ambassadors of the member states of the European Union in Brasilia to present the measures adopted by Brazil to face the Aedes mosquito. On the occasion, Ambassador of the European Union, João Cravinho, informed the minister about the opening of a search for a credit line of EUR 10 million for studies on Zika. All institutions in the world may participate in the tender should be launched on March 15.

Last week, the minister announced the first international agreement for the development of vaccine Zika virus.The research will be conducted jointly by the Brazilian government and the University of Texas Medical Branch in the United States. For this, it will be made available by the Brazilian government US $ 1.9 million over the next five years.

According to the work schedule, the forecast is for product development in two years. The partnership in Brazil to vaccine development will be with the Evandro Chagas (IEC) Institute, an agency of the Ministry of Health.