The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to send a team, consisting of WHO AFRO and the Institut Pasteur members in Dakar, to Cabo Verde, following the minister of health's request for assistance.
Between Oct. 21, 2015, and March 6, 2016, 7,490 cases of Zika virus have been confirmed or suspected -- of those cases, 165 were pregnant women. Forty-four of the women have had their babies, and no birthing trouble or abnormalities have been detected. Thirty-three cases of Zika virus have been suspected on two of the nine islands that make up Cabo Verde, in Santiago Island and Fogo Island, between Feb. 29 and March 6.
Zika virus rates have lowered in Cabo Verde, but the minister of health reported on March 15 that microcephaly has been identified for the first time. Although it is still uncertain whether microcephaly is connected to the Zika virus in Cabo Verde, research is developing to cover all bases.
The team traveling to Cabo Verde will be working on the research that was begun by the health professionals of Cabo Verde. The team members will work to provide technical and laboratory assistance, work on Zika virus surveillance and spread information to nearby communities.
WHO wants to continue to distribute information to pregnant women, including any risks that may come to the fetus if they are already infected with Zika virus. These guidelines include following all preventative guidelines, visiting their prenatal doctor regularly during the entire pregnancy, acquiring risk information and possible counseling, visiting with a pediatrician or pediatric neurologist after the baby is born, acquiring possible abortion options, and being treated with respect.
Teams will be begin departing on March 17.