Saturday, 2 April 2016

Colombian National Institute of Health speaks about microcephaly and Zika virus...

Excerpted from slideset produced by Colombian INS.[2]
The NIH (actually the INS - Instituto de Nacional Salud) of Colombia have reported 50 suspect diagnoses of microcephaly there in 2016.[1] 

18 (36%) of these have been discarded, leaving 32 cases still being investigated.

The remainder represents an increase of 13% compared to what would normally be expected to occur by Week 11 in other years. Annually, Colombia reports 140 microcephaly diagnoses across the entire country.[1] 

These are great data - we are seeing an actual baseline ahead of the predicted microcephaly surge that will be follow, and be caused by the Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic the country is experiencing. That is of course, all based on what scientific consensus has decided has happened in Brazil following ZIKV infection of pregnant women.

Statistics from the Epidemiological Surveillance System (SIVIGILA) in Colombia have quantified the ZIKV epidemic to date at 2,361 confirmed cases of Zika virus disease (ZVD) and 56,477 suspected cases. Their weekly detailed mega-report should be out soon.
Additionally, there are 997 pregnant women confirmed to have been infected by ZIKV and 9,815 cases of pregnant women who report having had symptoms (suspect) consistent with ZVD.

For the same period 381 neurological syndromes were reported, of which 258 have been diagnosed as Guillain-Barre syndrome associated with ZVD.

""Of the 33 countries that have indigenous virus circulation zika, Colombia is the nation that more laboratory tests carried out according to reports of the Pan American Health Organization. We have a surveillance system that has one to one all people who consult health services with symptoms of this disease, which represents the best statistical series of the region" said Fernando Ruiz Gómez, Deputy Minister of Public Health and Provision of National Health Services."[3]

...and I love the lab testing that is going on in Colombia. Great work indeed... 

Martha Lucia Ospina Martinez, General Director of INS, emphasized that only 14 countries in the region - of the 33 that have indigenous circulation of Zika - log suspect cases into their surveillance systems - Colombia , Brazil, Honduras, Venezuela, Martinique, El Salvador, Suriname, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Barbados, Saint Martin and the Virgin Islands. "For this reason it is wrong to compare with the other 18 nations that do not record these cases, as have some critics to the actions taken by the National Government." 

...I presume wrong because the totals will be very different... 

Excerpted from slideset produced by Colombian INS.[2]
The Director reported that other countries in the region have reported an increase in cases of syndrome Guillain-Barre attributed to ZVD. 

However, in cases with microcephaly and other neurological birth defects, only Brazil has reported cases, reporting that 907 cases and Panama have recently reported on one partner that is being studied. 

I'm not sure if the translation and my interpretation are correct on that last section. It reads a little like some competition between Colombia and Brazil around how reporting is being conducted. 

I'd value any local language expert interpretation - or a direct communication from anyone with first-hand knowledge!

Is Colombia doubting the link because it's not yet confirmed its own association?