Guatemala confirms first Zika-linked microcephaly, paralysis

The main hospital in Guatemala’s capital has confirmed the country’s first case of a Zika-linked birth defect in a newborn and two cases of a related nerve disorder on Wednesday.

Head of the infectious diseases clinic in the Hospital Roosevelt, Carlos Mejia, told a news conference that a 70-year-old man and a five-year-old girl had been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological auto-immune condition which can cause paralysis.

He said “We have also detected the first case of microcephaly compatible with Zika. Microcephaly is a condition where babies are born with abnormally small skulls and underdeveloped brains.

Zika is most commonly transmitted by mosquito, although rarer cases of transmission through sex have been identified. Mejia, therefore, said tests were being carried out on two other babies to determine whether their mothers had contracted Zika while pregnant.

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He added that there have been no confirmed deaths from conditions linked to the virus, though there was a report of a man infected with Zika dying of severe pneumonia.

Zika has swept through much of Latin America, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare an international public health emergency in February this year.




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