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More than 5,000 Pregnant Colombian Women Infected With Zika Virus

  • VOA News

FILE - A Colombian health worker gives travellers information on how to prevent the spread of the Zika virus, at the main bus terminal in Bogota, Colombia, Jan. 31, 2016.

FILE - A Colombian health worker gives travellers information on how to prevent the spread of the Zika virus, at the main bus terminal in Bogota, Colombia, Jan. 31, 2016.

Colombia’s National Health Institute said Saturday that more than 5,000 pregnant women in the country are infected with the Zika virus.

The total number of people diagnosed in Colombia has reached 31,555, the institute said in its Epidemiology Bulletin, among them 5,013 pregnant women.

The latest figures of Zika cases indicate a 23 percent increase over last week's total, while in pregnant women the number went up 57.8 percent.

There is currently no treatment for Zika and much remains unknown about the disease, including whether the virus causes microcephaly, a medical condition in which the head in newborns is smaller than normal because the brain has not developed properly or has stopped growing.

The mosquito-borne virus is most prevalent in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, with more than 4,300 suspected cases of the birth defect.

Gustavo Henrique who is 2-months old and born with microcephaly, reacts to stimulus during an evaluation session with a physiotherapist at the Altino Ventura rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil, Feb. 11, 2016.

Gustavo Henrique who is 2-months old and born with microcephaly, reacts to stimulus during an evaluation session with a physiotherapist at the Altino Ventura rehabilitation center in Recife, Brazil, Feb. 11, 2016.

Brazil's Rousseff confident

To ease the concerns ahead of the Summer Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, President Dilma Rousseff expressed her confidence to reporters Saturday that by the time the Olympics begin, her country will have considerable success exterminating the mosquito believed to cause the disease.

Brazil's Zika virus outbreak will not compromise the Olympics the country will be hosting in August, Rousseff said.

Meanwhile, Brazilian troops began a public campaign Saturday aimed at educating the public on ways to eliminate the mosquito carrying the Zika virus.

An army soldier distributes a pamphlet about the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the Zika virus on the edge of the Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Feb. 13, 2016.

An army soldier distributes a pamphlet about the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the Zika virus on the edge of the Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Feb. 13, 2016.

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